FINCH — The Finch Community Centre was magically transformed last Friday night (Nov. 18) into a Christmas wonderland to host the 3rd Annual Sisters for Life Ladies Night Gala, where nearly 200 women helped raise over $14,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society.
The fundraiser was organized by “Sisters for Life” Relay for Life team. Team members include Patsy Casselman and her daughter, Kim Casselman, Susan Casselman, Wendy Heagle, Joy Krol, and her daughter Natalie Dawson, Maureen Robertson and her daughter, Meghan-Tia Robertson.
Organizers offered “a huge thank you” to the ‘table captains’ for their creativity and effort put into making their tables so spectacular. Twenty-two of these captains hosted anywhere between six and 16 guests at their respective tables during the 2016 Gala.
Winners of this year’s table-decorating contest were: “Rudolpha and the Other Reindeer” (Captain Kim Palmer) — Country Charm award; “A Frosty Christmas” (Captain Phyllis Burtenshaw-Lalonde) — Party Hearty award; “A Victorian Christmas Tea” (Captain Lorna Smith-Gove) — Most Glam award; and “A Joyous Christmastide” (Captain Kenda tePlate) — Traditional Christmas award. Table participants also have the chance to win a Table Prize.
Gala participants may purchase raffle tickets for different themed baskets full of fantastic items. The lucky winners of this year’s baskets were: Phyllis Burtenshaw-Lalonde – “On the Green” basket; Vicki Boivin – “Gardener’s Delight” basket; and Jody Marleau – “It’s a Girl Thing” basket.
The evening featured both a Silent and Live Auction, with over one hundred items up for grabs this year. Team members were thrilled to have auctioneer Chad Simmons, from Finch, return for a third year to lead the live auction. His humour and charisma are enjoyed by all.
Carolyn Bourassa, a dedicated “Relayer” and committed supporter of the Canadian Cancer Society, led the Tealight Ceremony and gave an inspirational talk on the importance of Relay. The Tealight Ceremony replicates the touching Luminary Lap at the annual Relay for Life event.
A Tree of Hope was a new addition to this year’s Gala, giving participants the opportunity to hang a ribbon in memory of a loved one or in support of a cancer survivor.
Organizers credit the event’s success on “the overwhelming generosity of a vast number of businesses and individuals who provide support through monetary contributions or goods. Team members are very grateful and honoured to have so many people and businesses in the United Counties and the City of Cornwall donate to support the cause.”
Special thanks were extended to Scotiabank employees, Miriam Vallance and Amanda Elsholf; the Finch Recreation Committee; Cheryl Irven and Marion Byers (Unique Decorating); emcee Sue Stewart; Kylie Zummach (Through My Lens Photography); DJ Jeff Van Gessel and his assistant Katie MacMillan; auctioneer Chad Simmons; and student volunteers Brooklin Woodside, Sierra Woodside, Ceilidh McRae, Alie Meldrum, Breigh Jackson, Cami Tait, Laine McMillan and Emily Norman.
The smiles and wonderful moments of the evening were captured by Kylie Zummach (Through My Lens Photography), who takes various pictures of the evening and its participants. Kylie, in turn, donates half of her proceeds back to the cause. These pictures, along with others from the evening, can be viewed on the “Sisters for Life” Facebook page.