Fundraiser honours woman who lost her battle to Crohn’s disease

Jaclyn Lea Fisher
Jaclyn Lea Fisher

Tribute will be paid to a young Jewish woman who lost her battle with Crohn’s one year ago at the 14th annual Gala for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada (formerly the All That Glitters Gala) on April 4 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

Jaclyn Lea Fisher died on March 21, 2015 at 26. She had suffered from Crohn’s disease since just before her 10th birthday.

Proceeds from the evening will be devoted as always to research and to the “Make it stop. For Life” campaign. In addition, a portion of the proceeds will be allocated to the establishment of the Crohn’s and Colitis Canada Jaclyn Fisher Education Fund.


Honorary chairs are retired Senator Leo and Roni Kolber and Claudine and Stephen Bronfman.

Dr. Alain Bitton, one of Fisher’s doctors and the director of the gastroenterology division at McGill University, will offer a few words about his late patient that night.

“Jackie faced her illness, as well as intense treatments, head on,” he said. “She was courageous, resilient and an inspiration to her family and all of us who knew her. She was quite simply an incredible person.”

Her nurse Marlene Stone commented: “Jackie never let the diagnosis of Crohn’s define her. She was a student, an advocate and a volunteer.”

Gala co-chairs Erin Battat and Marian Sniatowsky and their committee say they want to honour Fisher’s “radiant spirit and contributions” to the knowledge of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and the effort to raise funds to cure it.

The evening will begin with a presentation about her life, followed by a cocktail dînatoire. Food is being donated by some of the city’s top restaurants. A strictly kosher section will also be available.

The goal is to raise $500,000.

Even as they struggled to cope with the diagnosis of the disease in their young daughter, Fisher’s parents, Rina and Larry, looked for ways to support research into IBD.

They helped start a committee that organized the first Montreal gala for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, and took a lead role in subsequent events. Their daughter was an active participant and enjoyed helping to plan the galas over the years.

In 2005, at age 16, Fisher was the national teen spokesperson for the annual Heel N’ Wheel Walk. Later, noting a lack of awareness of the disease among people her age, she started a youth committee in Montreal. In recognition of her dedication, she was nominated to represent Quebec on the newly established Crohn’s and Colitis Canada National Youth Advisory Council – the so-called “Gutsy Generation.”

Fisher graduated from Herzliah High School with five academic awards and a peer-nominated prize for representing the spirit of the school.

At Marianapolis College, Fisher started an IBD Social Club. She went on to McGill where she was on the Dean’s List and garnered other awards, eventually receiving a Bachelor of Arts.

She became a course counsellor in the faculty of management and later a junior administrative counsellor for organizational behaviour. She also worked at TV McGill.

Her illness, however, forced her to put her studies on hold.

Rina Fisher painfully recalled the gruelling treatments her daughter endured over the years.


“Following her diagnosis with Crohn’s, Jackie developed a number of secondary conditions, many related to the medications she was taking as treatment for the IBD,” she said.

“Jackie was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 21 after having been on a strong ‘biologic’ treatment for Crohn’s for several years. She endured surgeries in Montreal and in Boston, had chemotherapy treatments and spent her last year hospitalized, yet never losing her strength, dignity and hope, always asking: ‘Tell me, what more I can do?’”

For gala tickets, call Stefanie at 514-342-0666 or click here.