Canadian Jewish News: BRAINS SET TO TAKE OVER TORONTO STREETS By Susan Minuk - June 20, 2019

At a recent media launch, The CJN spoke with some of the artists and had a sneak peek at the 50 brains that are set to grace city streets in the Greater Toronto Area on July 2.

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The fourth annual Yogen Früz Brain Project is bringing together some 50 Canadian and international artists to transform blank models of the human brain into one-of-a-kind works of art. Its founders hope that the artwork will spark conversations with the public about dementia, in an effort to raise $1 million for brain health and research at Baycrest Health Sciences, a world leader in aging and brain health research.

Erica and Noah Godfrey are the Brain Project’s honorary co-chairs. “This is Erica’s baby. It has gone above and beyond what she and we ever dreamed of, raising more than $3 million since inception,” said Noah Godfrey. “Brain health and Alzheimer’s touched our family, and that’s part of the message – it touches everybody’s family. We all have a brain. It ages. There are things that we can do today and things our kids can do to make sure that their brain is working optimally as they age.”

According to the World Health Organization, there are around 50 million people living with dementia worldwide, and nearly 10 million new cases each year. While rare, younger people can get dementia, as well. According to the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada, young-onset dementia accounts for two to eight per cent of all dementia cases. Sixteen thousand Canadians under the age of 65 are living with young-onset dementia.

“If we can delay the onset of dementia by five years, we could reduce its prevalence in the population by about one-third – that is a significant number,” said Josh Cooper, the president and CEO of the Baycrest Foundation.

Michelle Vella is a portrait artist who specializes in drawing celebrities with large, wide-big eyes. “The inspiration behind my brain design was fashion icon Iris Apfel. She is a vibrant 97-year-old known for her big jewelry, big baubles and bangles, and her signature black-rimmed eyeglasses. Iris is an excellent representation of brain wellness and what we all hope to have well into our 90s,” said Vella.

The artwork will be on display from July 2 to August 31 at various locations in Toronto, including Nathan Phillips Square, the Distillery District, Brookfield Place and Union Station.

By Susan Minuk -  June 20, 2019

To learn more about the Brain Project, visit