THUNDER BAY – Healthbeat – In its 16th year, the Bearskin Airlines Hope Classic is still attracting new participants. And, to no one’s surprise, they mix perfectly with the teams that have been part of the ladies-only curling bonspiel since its inception.
New or not, the “Women of the Hope” feel the magic of the unique event, while thousands of others feel the benefits. These are the women who have been touched by the Linda Buchan Centre for Breast Assessment & Screening. This year, the event raised $177,500, bringing the total to $2.2 million to date.
The Bearskin Airlines Hope Classic raises funds in support of the Northern Cancer Fund of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation. 100% of the proceeds remain in Northwestern Ontario and are directed to the Linda Buchan Centre for Breast Screening & Assessment.
The Linda Buchan Centre at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is a place of answers. A team of breast health experts provide screening and diagnostic mammography for clients of all ages, complete diagnostic testing for all breast health concerns, and coordination of care by the Breast Assessment Coordinator.
The Centre, named in honour of Linda Buchan, a courageous and tireless advocate in the fight against breast cancer, opened its doors in 2006. Prior to that, less than 300 women received breast screening in an average year. Within its first two years, the Linda Buchan Centre served over 3,300 clients. And with continued growth thanks in large part to the the Bearskin Airlines Hope Classic, services continue to expand.
Despite the impact of the funds it brings in, the focus of the Bearskin Airlines Hope Classic has never been fundraising. “Our top priority is to ensure that everyone has fun,” explains event chair Susan Childs. “Of course we always hope to increase awareness about breast cancer and raise funds, but it’s not about achieving a certain goal. We just really believe in what we’re doing.”
That attitude may be the secret to their success. For 16 years now, women have danced, laughed, cried and shared experiences with breast cancer at the Hope Classic. “Everyone has been impacted by cancer; a friend or family member. You never get over it,” says Childs. The spirit of the event seems to reduce competitiveness and increase bonding. The Bearskin Airlines Hope Classic is simply an event that must be experienced to be truly appreciated.
Childs will tell you with a laugh that “What happens at The Hope, stays at The Hope”, but select photos from this year’s event, and previous ones, can be found at www.bearskinairlineshopeclassic.com. To donate to the Northern Cancer Fund, please call 345-HOPE or visit www.healthsciencesfoundation.ca.
Special to NetNewsledger.com