Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Pincher Creek thinks pink for cancer fundraiser

Photos: C. Davis and T. Lucas except where noted
Christian Davis

A parade of Pink rode into Pincher Creek on August 10. Participants in the Wild Pink Yonder 23-day Breast Cancer Awareness horse ride fundraiser gathered at the Butcher Creek Grazing Co-op corrals south of Pincher Creek.  From there they reconvened at the Pincher Creek AG grounds, where the Pink Parade down a well decorated (in pink of course) Main Street began, culminating in a block party held in the Elks Hall building parking lot and the street between the hall and Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village, which cordoned off for the event. The Elks served up a BBQ supper, entertainment was provided by the Schoening family band, and a Bash Cancer Car Smash (see the video below) entertained the sizable crowd gathered for the occasion. The Cowley Lions hosted a fundraiser breakfast the next morning at the Ag grounds concession.  Pincher Creek's Dolphin Swim Club helped with fundraising during the parade.  According to organizers, every cent raised goes to breast cancer research.

A smashing event

Announcer Bob Westrop
Bob Westrop was the enthusiastic announcer for the parade and block party.  Former Pincher Creek Rodeo Queen Chelsea Stokke (and Miss Rodeo Canada contestant) and her mother Shelley helped organize the Car Smash, and Chelsea was top bidder for first crack at the Car Smash. After that participants paid to have their turn.  A highlight of that event was Dennis Robin's dance atop the car while the band played Bobby Day's "Rockin' Robin".

Tweedlee deedlee dee
Pincher Creek Mayor Don Anderberg and Ray Degan (at the wheel) in the parade

Town Councillor Doug Thornton in the parade with wife Bev (AlbertaSW) at the wheel
Cancer 'victor' (a term she prefers to 'survivor') and ride organizer Jane Hurl was a featured speaker at the block party.

Local organizers Ken Neumann and Charlie Price in the pink parade
Pincher Creek Lion Ken Neumann was one of the local organizers of the event.  He appeared before Pincher Creek Town Council back in April to ask for the Town support of the ride, an appeal that was warmly received.  "The basic idea of this ride is to raise money for breast cancer, which I think affects everybody," said Neumann.  Part of the incentive for visiting each community is they are going to visit 23 communities throughout this 23 day ride, and the community that raises the most money will get a sign to put outside of the community that is going to say 'Pinkest Little Town in Western Canada'. 

The winning community will also win a free music concert.

Many individuals, businesses, and organizations in Pincher Creek donated time, goods, and services to the cause.

Administration for the MD of Pincher Creek No. 9 thinking pink
submitted photo

Neumann and his fellow Lions worked with other area service groups and businesses to make Pincher Creek's contribution to the ride a huge success.

Nicki, Luke, and Adam Schoening entertaining at block party
Three weeks before the event Neumann told ride organizers that the Pincher Creek effort had already raised $5,000. He wasn't entirely satisfied with that figure, but told organizers “If every town you visited raised $5,000, you’d have over $100,000 right there!”  The final tally of Pincher Creek's contribution hasn't been made official yet, but was estimated to be approximately $7,000.

Even the sky was pink!
Kim Lissel photo
"Thank you very much for coming out and helping us support breast cancer research," said Ken Neumann during the block party.  "Thank you to everyone for helping out, and all the clubs."

"She (Jane Hurl) goes to different parts of Alberta every year," Neumann explained.  "This is her seventh year.  In six years she's raised $715,000. for breast cancer." 

Charlie Price and Jane Hurl
Hurl told the block party crowd that every day six women in Alberta are told they have breast cancer.  "Tomorrow, six more will hear the same thing, and the next day, and the next day.  That's why we ride." 

"This year... our ride is a little bit different. They asked us if we would be interested in helping fund a research project to do with chemotherapy.  It's not just chemotherapy for breast cancer, it's for all cancers.  It's called 'taxane', and taxane is a really good chemotherapy... when it works.  But it only works on 50% of the people.   The other 50% are taxane resistant.  They don't know why.  So you go through taxane chemotherapy and 6, 8, 10, 12 months later you find out it didn't work.  You've got all the side effects, which  really weren't very nice, and none of the benefits, and your cancer has a 6, 8, 10, 13 month start on you.  So what they want to do is they want to find biomarkers  that will tell them when you come in and they know you've got cancer, they can test and say 'Yup, taxane will work on this one, nope it won't on that'.  In order to do that research they need 1.3 million dollars.  We won't raise that this year, but we're working on it."

Parade down Main Street

The block party was a smash hit
Former Pincher Creek Rodeo Queen Chelsea Stokke helping out at block party
Dancing to the Schoenings
Elk Pete Wollman tries to claim a door prize

The ride visited Cardston, Waterton Lakes, Glenwood, Great Canadian Barn Dance, and Hill Spring before coming to Pincher Creek. Planned adventures after Pincher Creek include rides in Crowsnest Pass, Nanton, High River, Black Diamond, Bragg Creek (including a stay at one of the Heartland sets), Ghost Waiparous, Cochrane, Sundre, James River Bridge, Caroline, Rocky Mountain House, Drayton Valley, Hinton, Edson, Wildwood, Mayerthorpe, Evansburg/Entwistle, Stony Plain/Spruce Grove, St. Albert, and  Edmonton.

Terry Grant of Mantacker fame is scheduled to lead the High River leg of the ride.

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