Jonathan Brown - known as Jonny - died of Ewing's sarcoma in 2021 after a two-year battle with the disease.  Jonny's Gold Ribbon Gala will be held in his honor — and to raise money for the McMaster Children's Hospital Foundation — on October 15, the first anniversary of his passing.

The inaugural Jonny’s Gold Ribbon Gala in memory of Jonathan Brown of Carlisle and in support of the McMaster Children’s Hospital Foundation will take place on October 15th.

Known to everyone as Jonny, Brown was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of bone cancer in 2019 at the age of 17. The gala, which will take place at the Hamilton Convention Centre, will mark the first anniversary of his death at the age of 19.

Organized by his parents Claudia and Allan Brown and a group of volunteers, the evening will feature cocktails, appetizers, classical music, a silent and live auction, a gourmet meal and several captivating performances. McMaster Children’s Hospital staff and families will also share inspiring stories.

Claudia said they hope to bring together more than 300 members of Hamilton’s caring community and raise more than $100,000 for the expansion and renovation of the pediatric oncology clinic at McMaster Children’s Hospital. She said they wanted to hold the gala to give back to the hospital which provided phenomenal care to Jonny during his battle.

“We just wanted to give back,” she said, adding that they wanted to change the date of her death from a negative to something positive. “It is also an opportunity to celebrate our son.

Claudia said they thought coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic people would be looking for a night out and it seemed like a big tribute to Jonny – as well as a way to raise money for the only pediatric cancer program hospitalized in south-central Ontario.

While the gala has a number of corporate and corporate sponsors who have purchased tables, the Browns want it to be a true community event. Claudia noted the family had lived in Carlisle for 22 years and their children had attended Waterdown District High School, while Johnny played for the Flamborough Sabers his entire hockey career.

“They’re really part of this community and this community has really helped us through this,” she said of Jonny’s cancer battle.

His parents described Jonny as loyal, loving, laid back and easy going and someone who loved to have fun with his friends – whether playing hockey, basketball, ultimate frisbee, spikeball and video games. or watching his favorite NHL teams.

However, they said he was also quietly intelligent, determined and strong-minded.

An example of his determination was completing grade 12 and being accepted to the University of Waterloo majoring in math, despite grueling chemotherapy and surgery.

The first sign of cancer came in February 2019 when Jonny complained of leg pain after falling while playing in the garage. When it didn’t clear up, he had x-rays, which showed nothing.

Eventually, an MRI found a large tumor on Jonny’s hip femur. He immediately started chemotherapy and completed five cycles before undergoing surgery – a femur resection to remove the cancer and a partial hip replacement – ​​followed by nine more cycles of chemotherapy.

After the surgery, Jonny was virtually cancer free. However, the pain returned after her three-month check-up and finally, in November 2020, doctors found the cancer had returned – and spread.

The prognosis was not good – only three percent of Ewing’s sarcoma patients who have a recurrence and metastases survive. Although Jonny started online lessons at Waterloo, he was forced to drop out following the recurrence.

However, his parents said that through it all, Jonny remained positive.

“He was convinced that he was going to do chemo again and that he would be better,” Claudia said. “He never gave up hope until the last two weeks before he passed and they had to tell him – ‘we can do it.'”

Jonny passed away on October 15, 2021 in McMaster surrounded by his family. He is survived by his parents, siblings Rachel and Michael, grandmother Theresa, devoted puppy Cleo, and other family members and friends.

Allan and Claudia said the care he received at McMaster from the doctors, nurses and all the staff was nothing short of excellent and he was treated like family.

“The doctors did everything they could,” Allan said.

While this year is Jonny’s first Gold Ribbon Gala, the family hopes to make this an annual event that will turn the day from a day of sadness into a day of hope, celebration and purpose.

“We hope it will be a really successful event and everyone will have a great time,” Allan said.

Doors open for the 18+ event at 5:30 p.m., with dinner at 7 p.m. and tickets are $150. For more information or to buy tickets, visit hamiltonhealth.ca/jonny.