Alanis bails on Ottawa fundraiser, Burton Cummings to the rescue

Absence due to illness raises eyebrows after pictures from a beach location shared on social media

OTTAWA – Canadian rock legend Burton Cummings came to the rescue this week after pop star Alanis Morissette left a major charity event high and dry in her hometown of Ottawa.

Morissette’s absence Monday night, barely a week after the shootings on Parliament Hill, raised eyebrows among the politicians and business leaders at the popular gathering as they saw her post pictures from a beach location.

Alanis had been advertised since the summer as the marquee performer at the annual Hope Live concert, with CBC personality Rick Mercer hosting for the sixth year in a row.

The $400 per ticket benefit was to raise money for Fertile Futures, an organization that connects cancer survivors with information and treatment so they can have children after beating their illness.

Organizers were told by Morissette’s agent on Friday that the singer had to pull out due to illness. But on the evening of the event, Morissette posted pictures to Instagram and Twitter from a beach, mentioning another charity.

“a great day of sous-chef-ing with @stevejaws under the careful mentorship of @chariyaleeds for the @AdrienShellyFDN,” Morissette posted. “an honor to be a part of supporting this cause again this year. xoxox”

The Adrienne Shelly Foundation is a New York-based charity that raises money for women filmmakers.

Several cabinet ministers and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau attended the Monday night event. Some in Ottawa tweeted Morissette back.

“Pssst @Alanis I think online donations are welcome,” posted Industry Minister James Moore.

“@Alanis get well. #ottawa had a rough week too. #awkward #hopelive,” wrote Leah Ferko.

Cummings charmed the crowd at the Great Canadian Theatre Company playing hits from the Guess Who and his solo career, sitting alone at a digital keyboard. At the end of the gig he saluted the work of Canadian servicemen and women, and then took pictures with fans.

The Hope Live event was launched by Rogers Communications executive Heidi Bonnell, herself a survivor of melanoma and non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Bonnell and her spouse had frozen embryos before her chemotherapy, and two years ago a surrogate gave birth to their twins.

She announced Monday that 300 men and women have so far been helped with fertility preservation through the money raised at the event.

Previous musical headliners included Jann Arden, Gord Downie, Randy Bachman and Serena Ryder.

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