THUNDER BAY – Entertainment – It’s official – the 17th Annual Elekta Bachelors for Hope Charity Auction surpassed the $1 million mark on April 16, with $86,176 raised, bringing the 17-year total to $1,025,765. Even better, every dollar raised that night was matched by The Paterson Foundation to support Exceptional Cancer Care in Northwestern Ontario.
While $1 million can be hard to fathom, it’s easy to see how, year-after-year, the event continues its inspirational fundraising. “Our Bachelors, volunteers, and sponsors all make sure this event is the ultimate ladies night out. When guests arrive they are swept off their feet and pampered all evening. Ultimately they bid on the indulgent packages paired with each Bachelor, which leads to funds raised to support advancements in breast cancer screening, diagnosis, treatment and research,” said Laurie Clarke, Committee Member.
Every dollar raised goes directly to breast cancer care in Northwestern Ontario. Recent advancements include the new Screen for Life Mobile Coach that’s currently on the road providing breast cancer screening, along with cervical and colorectal cancer screening to women across the Northwest. Screening finds cancer earlier, leading to a better chance for recovery. “I’ve lost too many friends to breast cancer,” remarked Sue Dubinsky, Cabinet Member, Exceptional Cancer Care Campaign and Director, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation. “Because the money raised at this event goes directly back to our Cancer Centre, we know our families, friends and colleagues have the best chance possible for survival.”
Increasing the chance of survival is particularly important to Bachelor Curtis Trotz, whose family has been touched by cancer, and who lost his father to lung cancer at the age of 14. “I chose to become a Bachelor because I wanted to honour the memory of those I’ve lost to cancer, but also to take an active role in supporting research that will lead to better treatments. Each of the guys who agreed to be Bachelors this year is wholly dedicated to fighting this dreaded disease and I’m exceptionally proud to be a part of this group – getting up there on stage is a team effort that’s well worth it in the end.”
Not only do the Bachelors get up on stage to be auctioned off, they work tirelessly for weeks ahead to collect pledges, attend dance class and promote the event. “The adrenaline rush once you get up on stage is unreal,” said Trotz, “but I can only begin to imagine the feeling you’d get being told you have cancer. That’s why we’re willing to put ourselves out there – yeah it’s fun, but in the end, maybe me shaking my butt to Pitbull will save someone’s life.”
Altogether the event drew 350 guests who were treated to a gourmet meal at the Victoria Inn Hotel and Convention Centre, along with entertainment throughout the evening, courtesy of the Bachelors, and the ever-popular Bling Blitz, this year sponsored by Vince Mirabelli. For just $20, women purchased a small box, not knowing whether it was a fun prize, or a beautiful 1/2 carat princess-cut diamond necklace, valued at $1,300. The Blitz always gets the room into a frenzy, as guests scramble to purchase their boxes. “It’s a little chaotic,” admitted Maureen Mills, Senior Special Event Officer, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation, “but it’s always fun. That moment when all the women are opening their boxes is probably the quietest the room is all night.”
Continued Mills, “The success of the Bling Blitz and the event itself is contingent on the support of our sponsors, without whom we simply couldn’t hold this event. This year, over $25,000 worth of prizes were donated by local businesses to ensure the money raised makes as big of an impact as possible. We are truly thankful to the dozens of people who sponsor this event year after year; thanks to them, our Bachelors, our volunteers and our guests, today more women are living longer following a breast cancer diagnosis . That’s the best news there is.”