Each year the Brazilian Carnival Ball attracts over 1,800 guests and raises more than $2 million making it one of the largest fundraising galas in Canada and reaching international reputation (in September 2002, the Ball was held at the Château de Versailles in France).  More than $55 million net has been donated to important causes in healthcare, research , education and culture in Canada since Anna Maria de Souza started it in a small Toronto church basement in 1966.  The beneficiaries this year included the de Souza Institute Foundation (for highly-trained oncology nurses named in memory of Anna Maria) and the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology (CAPO) for psychosocial care for people with cancer and their families.

On Sept 15, 2012, the 46th annual (and sadly the final) Brazilian Carnival Ball was held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

The evening started with a VIP reception where we spotted Canadian fashion icon, Jeanne Beker, among others, followed by the main cocktail reception.

Jeanne Beker

Cocktail reception

Then we were all gathered into the banquet hall into our assigned tables where it was time to be greeted.  The most touching moment came when Ivan X. de Souza, the widower of the honoured founder of the Brazilian Carnival Ball, Anna Maria, gave his speech and mentioned his beloved wife, who fought a nine month battle with cancer without complaint.  It’s only fitting that on the 5th anniversary of her passing, this year’s  Brazilian Carnival Ball proceeds go towards cancer and bereavement charities.

Then there were heart-wrenching but important video diving into personal stories of those affected by cancer.

Ivan X. de Souza, widower of Anna Marie de Souza

On that purposefully somber note we headed into a 3 course gourmet dinner.

Dinner was followed by song and dance.

Then finally the main event!  The fabulous and glamorous Brazilian Carnival Parade full of sequins, feathers!  The costumes are flown in from the one and only world-renowned Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.

After the fantastic and fun parade it was time for naturally the best time for samba dancing and celebration of Anna Maria’s theme of “live, love and laugh”.

Miss Brazil Canada 2012 Daniela Correia

For more information visit


About Anna Maria de Souza

To read about Anna Maria de Souza’s biography, please visit



The mission of the de Souza Institute is to provide Ontarians with the best cancer care in the world by focusing on developing highly trained, specialized cancer nurses utilizing the latest evidence and approaches to cancer care. The Institute’s rapid success in Ontario has created significant interest elsewhere in Canada with collaborations not only being discussed nationally, but internationally in such countries as Kuwait, Brazil, and the United States. The de Souza Institute, named in memory of Anna Maria, was founded in partnership with Princess Margaret Hospital and Cancer Care Ontario.

In just over three years the Institute’s courses have:

  • resulted in a 40% increase in oncology nurses in Ontario who achieved specialty certification in oncology – many of them are on route to becoming a “de Souza Nurse” –an official recognition of advanced oncology nursing knowledge and skills and
  • over 4000 nurses have participated in the de Souza Institute’s educational programs. As front line practitioners, in regional cancer centres they help ensure that all individuals and families impacted by cancer receive the best support and follow up care.The funds raised will be directed towards supporting innovative research on new clinically-relevant approaches designed to bring the latest world-class cancer treatments to front line care.Programs developed will include:
  • Methods of latest chemotherapy delivery
  • Enhanced nursing support through radiation, prevention and health promotion counseling
  • Strategies to improve communication and the provision of emotional support to individuals and families receiving cancer treatments, follow up and palliative care.For more information please visit www.desouzanurse.ca


  • The Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology (CAPO) promotes excellence in psychosocial care for people with cancer and their families throughout the cancer experience—from diagnosis to treatment to survivorship or death. While the physical symptoms of cancer are addressed with medical treatment, the emotional impact of the disease is often overlooked. Psychosocial oncology is a specialty in cancer care that is concerned with the whole person. It focuses on the social, psychological, emotional and spiritual aspects of cancer through the entire cancer journey. CAPO works to transform cancer care wherever it is delivered—in hospital, in the community and in hospices. CAPO is a recognized international leader in the development of standards and guidelines for supportive quality of life care.Funding CAPO will improve the course of cancer for millions of Canadians living with cancer:
  • Facilitate equal access to psychosocial support services regardless of where a person lives, their age, income or ethnicity.
  • Standardized evidence based patient care models focused on reducing emotional and psychological distress.
  • Improved psychosocial interventions and programs for individuals with high quality research.
  • Implementation of standardized screening for distress throughout the cancer trajectory regardless of where cancer patients receive care
  • Education and training for all health care professionals to increase capacity for psychosocial care.
  • Raise awareness and expectations for quality psychosocial care.For more imformation please visit www.capo.ca
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Editor and Photos at BestOfToronto.net