New Westminster restaurant serves up fundraiser for autism

Movers & Shakers

Inspirational speeches and good food were on the menu at El Santo CAN.

Each year, the New Westminster restaurant holds El Santo CAN, a fundraiser for the Canucks Autism Network. Prior to the Oct. 20 event, El Santo CAN had raised $40,000 to $50,000 for the charity, which supports families affected by autism through sports, recreational and social programs.

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“We ended up raising about $15,000,” said Alejandro Diaz, owner of El Santo. “It was such a great night. Food was good, and speeches were inspirational.”

New West resident Ryan Chilton and Vancouver Canucks public address announcer Al Murdoch were the featured speakers at the fundraiser. Murdoch has been mentoring Chilton and helping him achieve his dream of being a sports announcer.

“One of the challenges is having autism,” Chilton said, when asked about barriers in he had to overcome to become an announcer. “As a result, I did not go to BCIT or another school to study broadcast journalism. I have learned through various volunteer positons – SFU radio show, Hyacks Football, CAN events and now, Greater Vancouver Canadians, and through listening to announcers I admire, like Al. Just doing my best and making the most of any opportunities I get is all I can do.”

El Santo CAN included live music and entertainment, guest speakers, a live and silent auction and a seven-course dinner with drink pairings.  Along with El Santo, Piva Modern Italian provided some of the food for this year’s event.

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