THUNDER BAY – HOPE was a word that was used throughout the evening at the Co-Operators Bachelors for Hope Charity Auction, held on Friday, April 12 at the Valhalla Inn. It powerfully united all those who were delighted to be in attendance; giving the promise of a future where breast cancer can be beaten.
Thanks to the sold-out crowd of 450, this year’s event raised a remarkable $90,236 for the Northern Cancer Fund, bringing the 21-year total to $1,330,957.76. Funds raised directly support breast cancer research, education, diagnosis and treatment in Northwestern Ontario, ensuring women (and men) have access to exceptional cancer care at home.
Laurie Clarke, a long-time member of the organizing committee said, “The Auction is a really unique, one-of-a-kind event that’s an incredible fundraiser for the Northern Cancer Fund. I think it’s so important that the money from this evening stays local. Having gone through cancer myself, I can tell you that having your support system around you is essential, and so, with this event, we’re making sure we have the right cancer care available here at home. You really can’t understand the value of that until you’ve been through it, and I’m extremely grateful for the ongoing support this event receives, because I know how much of a difference it makes.”
Ten Bachelors were recruited early in 2019 and were eager and enthusiastic to make the event a success. For several months they practiced their dance routine, which was unveiled Friday evening, to much appreciation from attendees. Additionally, the Bachelors worked extremely hard prior to the event to raise pledges for the Northern Cancer Fund. Altogether the Bachelors raised $25,190, with Bachelor Domenic Jr. Quaresima raising the most with $4,235.
“We had a great group of guys,” said Bachelor Cale Graydon, “who were dedicated to raising money and trying to break a record. It’s a fantastic fundraiser to get behind, knowing the money is staying in Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario and may help someone you know and love.”
Bachelors, and their associated date packages, were auctioned off throughout the evening. Winning bidders were rewarded with such items and experiences such as a Trip for 2 to either Las Vegas or Florida, axe throwing, horseback riding, skiing/boarding, sailing, helicopter rides, overnight stays at local hotels and delicious dining at area restaurants.
Organizers planned a few extras to go along with the traditional date packages that were auctioned off with each Bachelor. A popular phrase ‘Sparkle Time’ which is well known to past attendees, meant the start of the ‘Bling Blitz’ where attendees purchased an envelope for $20 not knowing what was inside, with two lucky attendees winning a Tiffany Bracelet, generously sponsored by Vince Mirabelli of Re/max First Choice Realty. There was also a Luxury Raffle with several packages of incredible prizes. Plus several lucky tables bid to have champagne, plus either chocolates, chocolate dipped strawberries or roses delivered to their table as an added treat.
Glenn Craig, the President & CEO, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation, concluded, “Our community has supported this event wholeheartedly for years, knowing that there have been tremendous advancements in diagnostics and treatment that have given women their best chance at surviving breast cancer. Much of this has been made possible thanks to the funds raised at this event and we are so grateful for the ongoing generosity of the sponsors and event attendees that ensure our community has access to exceptional cancer care.”