By Jon Thompson
The cash is still settling from Friday night’s Shake Your Booty For Colon Cancer gala at the arena but organizers believe they’ve met their $85,000-target.
The fifth annual cancer fundraising event aimed to fund the purchase of a $50,000 colonoscope and a $35,000 gastroscope for the Dryden Regional Health Services Foundation. The organizing Dream Believers chair, Mardi Plomp said visitors came from all over the region and as far away as Edmonton for “the biggest gala in Northwestern Ontario” for women and helped the event hit the mark for the cause.
The sold out, 720-guest evening came complete with a fashion show catwalk and auction, was the greatest turnout ever by 200 attendees and a far cry from the cancer fundraiser that grew from Plomp’s garden party in 2008.
Over four years, it raised $100,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society but in 2013, the Dream Believers were inspired by the infrastructure demands at the Dryden Regional Health Centre and the direct impact their fundraising could have on the community.
“People were more excited about giving local. Everyone can use this equipment. It’s for colonoscopes and it’s for the prevention of colon cancer. You couldn’t ask for something that is more needed and more important,” Plomp said, adding uniformed nurses were in attendance, stressing the importance of testing during the coincidentally-timed National Nursing Week.
The event has also narrowed its scope to the local in food and fashion. Its early inceptions, out-of-town businesses played a major role but this year, the fashion show featured five local businesses and five local restaurants served their best in a spread entitled Tastes of Dryden.
The deepest local connection was among the runway models. The crowd cheered supportively for those cancer survivors who took to the catwalk and all models had a personal connection to some form of the disease.
“Every single model was someone or had someone who was in their lives or touched their lives that they wanted to honour. They did this so compassionately. My mom will always be my angel and humbly, I know she’ll be looking down at this tribute and we’ll keep going for as long as we can, with a compassionate element to the community.”