Skiers raise more than $40,000 for cancer research

Posted By: The Ski Channel on March 29, 2010 6:40 am

On March 13th, in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, skiers showed their true value. Supporters of The Rob Lutterman Memorial Fund of the Cancer Research Society gathered at Mont Sutton to ski and raise more than 40 grand for cancer research.

Rob Lutterman was a passionate skier who sadly lost his life to pancreatic cancer in 1999 and the age of 63. Since there has been no cure for pancreatic cancer found, the Rob Lutterman Memorial Fund was founded in his honor, and to honor all those who have lost the battle to pancreatic cancer. The 11th Annual Rob Lutterman Ski for a Cure Day on the 13th was a great success, and had a great turn out.

Susan Schwartz of the Montreal Gazette has more:

“The second Cancer Research Society/Rob Lutterman Pancreatic Cancer Research Grant has been awarded, to a team from McGill University. The three-year, $300,000 grant will go to Dr. Michel L. Tremblay and his McGill University team, Dr. Bruno Gagnon and Dr. Neil McDonald. The first research grant was awarded in 2007 to an Alberta researcher.

One reason that cancer of the pancreas has so poor a prognosis is that it is difficult to detect early, before it has spread to other parts of the body. The metastatic process, as it is called, is especially aggressive in pancreatic cancer.

Tremblay’s team has collected a blood bank and urine samples from cancer patients to permit them to identify early markers of pancreatic cancer, with a view toward improving survival.

The mission of the Canadian Cancer Research Society, a national not-for-profit organization founded in 1945, is to fund basic cancer research and to provide seed money for promising original ideas, projects and researchers across Canada.

Tight ‘n Bright, a club-themed event held March 12 at Club 3519 on St. Laurent Blvd., raised $6,000 for the Lymphedema Association of Quebec. Guests were encouraged to wear – you guessed it – tight, bright, wacky clothing.

Another goal of the event, in addition to fundraising, was to raise awareness about lymphedema – a progressive disorder caused by damage to the body’s lymphatic vessels; it can occur near the site where lymph nodes have been damaged or removed. In severe cases, lymphedema causes unsightly swelling, most often in limbs. It occurs most commonly as a result of cancer treatment; between 20 and 30 per cent of people with breast cancer, for instance, are affected.

The Lymphedema Association of Quebec is a volunteer-run charity, based in Montreal; it relies on donations to help people with lymphedema.

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Bengala, a charity dinner and party held Feb. 25 at the Parisian Laundry, raised $100,000 for Haitian relief. About 180 people attended the dinner/auction portion, including Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay and his wife, Suzanne Tailleur; Lise Watier; Peter Svoboda, a former player with the Montreal Canadiens and Quebec business leaders. About 400 people turned up later for a party which lasted into the wee hours.

The event was a fundraiser for MAÂT, an independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 2007 to improve the quality of life and opportunities for young single women and their children. Main event partners were Belvedere vodka, the Velvet Speakeasy, La Porte Rouge on Mount Royal Ave. E., Hype Energy Drink and Boréale.

MAÂT has been in Haiti for several months; following the Jan. 12 earthquake, the kindergarten and training centre for young women it was funding became a shelter for orphaned children.

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Brenda Fahey-DeJean, a Grade 6 teacher at Wilder Penfield Elementary School, says the best thing about fundraising efforts for Haiti relief by the 72 Grade 6 students at the Dollard des Ormeaux school was that they were a result of the kids’ own interest and initiative. “In teaching, we do not always see the results of the seeds we have planted,” she wrote in an email. “The school community at Wilder has a culture of generosity and has often supported various causes; sometimes we answer to a specific situation and sometimes it has been an ongoing commitment.”

The school, part of the Lester B. Pearson School Board, holds fundraising days called Wilder Days; this time, the Grade 6 students chose four themes for days dedicated to raising money for Haiti relief: on Bubble Gum Day, for instance, students brought 25 cents to be able to chew bubble gum in class. On Extreme Hair Day, they paid 50 cents to curl, colour or otherwise decorate their hair for the day.

On Feb. 12, Wear Canada Day, held in honour of the opening of the Olympics, children were encouraged to wear red and white or anything representing Canada and donate $1. For the fourth Wilder Day, Wear the Colours of Haiti’s Flag Day, students donated $2 apiece.

The children raised a total of $2,444.95. Much of that amount, $1,600, will be matched by a federal government program that was in place until Feb. 12.

“We are very proud of the actions of our sixth graders,” Fahey-DeJean wrote. “They saw a problem and took an action. If we have young people who are paying attention to the plight of their community, both local and global, and doing something about it, we feel that true education has taken place – and that bodes well for the future.”

By mid-March, English Montreal School Board schools and centres had raised close to $108,750 for Haiti relief. The EMSB has decided not to publicize their totals individually, said EMSB Chairman Angela Mancini, so as not to give the impression the schools were competing with each other.

Westmount High School Principal Michael Cristofaro said in a message to his students: “One of the greatest acts of charity is to give without expectation, without promise of something in return and with the notion that our giving will assist a human being less fortunate than ourselves. Perhaps some of you gave up a snack at recess or a drink at the depanneur and instead gave that loonie or toonie to a greater good. Because of your actions you have put rice into empty bowls, water in thirsty mouths, and blankets around shivering children.”

Funds are being directed to the Canadian Red Cross Society, World Vision, UNICEF, Canada Care, New Missions, Oxfam and the Centre canadien d’études et de coopération internationale.

Among many highlights of the EMSB efforts: Nesbitt Elementary School in Rosemount has decided to assist families from Haiti who have settled in Montreal following the earthquake and need basic items to start a new home. Each grade level, from kindergarten to Grade 6, will adopt one family each and determine their needs.

Michelangelo Elementary School in Rivière-des-Prairies held a drum-a-thon: students participated in a continuous drum circle through the school day. “Haiti took a beating and we are beating for Haiti,” was the slogan used.

Staff and students of Haitian background at John F. Kennedy High School in St. Michel manned a donation table during two lunch periods and showed images of the devastation; money was also raised through classroom collections and a dress-down day.

Also in St. Michel, Perspectives Alternative High School students collected funds the day after the earthquake and walked them over to the Haitian Community Centre a few doors away.

Honoré-Mercier Elementary School in St. Léonard held a Pennies for Haiti program involving students in Grades 1 through 6. Kindergarten students held a Hearts for Haiti campaign: they designed magnetic hearts by colouring, gluing and painting them, then took them home to family or gave them to friends, with a letter explaining the project.”