The sixth annual Party Under the Stars will bring together the crème of Parliament in a non-partisan show of support for members of the CAF and veterans. Organized by the non-profit To the Stan and Back, the event will be held Feb. 3 off of Parliament Hill.
Each year parliamentarians and dignitaries gather for Party Under the Stars to help raise funds for post-combat wellness programs. This year, the event will be raising funds for service dogs trained to help veterans diagnosed with PTSD. Service dogs are known to be very successful in helping service members with PTSD, but it is not an inexpensive program as dogs can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000.
“I’m looking forward to it being a meaningful event… our veterans have given us so much. They constantly have our backs, and I really want to get the message out that the Canadian public needs to have their backs too,” said Cheri Elliott, founder of To the Stan and Back.
The event will feature veterans attesting to the importance and impact of having a service dog when combating PTSD.
The Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Jonathan Vance, are expected to attend. Other confirmed guests who will be speaking at the event include MP, retired Lt.Gen. Andrew Leslie, former Minister of Veterans Affairs, Erin O’Toole, and Mayor Jim Watson.
Guests will be treated to entertainment from multi-Juno award winner, soul, and R&B singer Jully Black.
“It’s going to be a great event. Every year we have a wonderful array of support from across the board, and I’m really looking forward to this year’s event as well,” said Elliott.
Party Under the Stars is the organization’s main fundraising event of the year. The previous event raised $20,000 for post-combat wellness programs.
Elliott founded To the Stan and Back six years ago. It is a registered charity that has donated more than $200,000 in gift certificate to CAF members returning from Afghanistan and other missions. The organization has also donated $87,000 for CAF base mess halls across the country for electronic or recreational equipment.
Elliott says she founded the organization as a “delayed response to 9/11.” She also has a son currently serving in the CAF.
Elliott says Party Under the Stars is more than just about raising money, it’s about showing gratitude to military members.
“It’s just a tangible way for myself and others to show appreciation to the troops for the tremendous sacrifice and the selfless sacrifice they make for us each day, and have done so in previous years. It’s a great way to come together in unison to thank our troops,” stated Elliott.
The event is open bar. Tickets for Party Under the Stars are $100. To purchase tickets visit their website.