In 2008 they raised $12,000.00 and in 2009 it was $17,000.00! Then in 2010 it jumped to $20,000 and in 2011 to $20,065.00! That’s almost $70,000 in four short years. “We generated about $21,000 last year,” explains Cheryl McKerrall “which by global standards probably looks rather small but in a small community, this amount goes a long way.”
Although the final tally for 2012 isn’t in at time of press, Cheryl McKerrall one of the 12 ladies who put in countless hours planning and hosting the Bosom Buddies fundraiser did report, “Judging by the crowd, silent auction numbers, live auction numbers, raffle ticket numbers, Bosom Buddy calendar sales and so many people involved, Bosom Buddy 2012 was extremely successful. Once again we are raising much needed funds for area residents going through cancer treatments.”
The planning and hosting team, Sharon Seidel, Cheryl Semeniuk, Lori Fipke, Maureen Fisk, Cheryl McKerrall, Susan Perkins, Cheryl Satre, Bev Perkins, Marlaine Gray, Arlene Jackson, Teresa Thompson and Cindy Leonhart are to be commended for the hours of dedication put into this annual event.
Cheryl explains the purpose of the fundraiser. “We give the money generated from our fundraiser to the Alberta Cancer Foundation with special designation to Patient Financial Assistance. The funds are flagged for members of our community but not necessarily specific JUST to THEIR needs. In others words, funds not used will still be used by people in need. We have in the past kept a portion of these funds in our account to purchase food gift certificates from M & M's for local families that we know are going through Cancer treatment. These certificates are well received and we get the names of these families from the local pharmacy or generally word-of- mouth."
Donna Payne experienced a need first hand
Although Donna Payne is no longer involved, she was a founder of the fundraiser. “Founded by Donna Payne of the Country Sampler in 2002, the Bosom Buddies program was created when her daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer. Donna immediately saw that there was no way a single low income mother could afford to have cancer. Without the help of her parents, Donna's daughter would have lost her home and been forced to move while she suffered. Donna was concerned for those who couldn't get help and so Bosom Buddies was created.
There are many people who don't have the means to provide the necessities when cancer strikes like parents of children who are stricken, husbands whose wives are in treatment, seniors on fixed incomes, young families who can barely afford babysitting while mom needs treatment, the list is endless. The need for financial assistance can devastate a family.
Cancer strikes unexpectedly and suddenly patients need costly medications, child care, accommodation and even parking money. Many patients have no Blue Cross and it takes 3 months to acquire it. If the patient is the primary breadwinner then they can find themselves with only 55% of their income. Many live away from the City and need accommodation that can be quite lengthy, especially in the case of radiation that can go on for many weeks.”
It is a very humbling experience for most of these patients and their families to ask for help. We have the means. Millions of dollars are raised every year for Cancer research. It is the goal of "Bosom Buddies" to keep raising money to give to the Alberta Cancer Foundation Cross Cancer Institute and specifically to the Patient Financial Assistance Program.”
Bosom Buddy partners
Cheryl talks about all the partners that help make the event possible. “We also work with the Village at Pigeon Lake and Chamber of Commerce. We will work their registration tables for their various events and they in turn will give us a small return from ticket sales to add to our cause.
There is a Bosom Buddy calendar in the workings that will be for sale by Xmas that will showcase Cancer survivors from our community, pictures taken of scenes from around the area, with additional inspirational aphorisms. These pictures are all taken by one of our members who is a freelance photographer, Teresa Thompson.” The sales of Village Shopping Bags at the Village Market and summer events help raise funds as well. Donations may be dropped off at ATB in the Village.