The 10th annual Pembina Valley Twisters’ Cancer Care Fundraiser is expected to be a record-breaker.
Totals from the three-day event held last week are still being tallied, but an initial count has the number exceeding $31,000, beating out the goal of $25,000.
The fundraiser was originally inspired by Dale Rempel, the previous owner of Rempel Insurance Brokers. Dale was an avid sports fan and loved the game of hockey as a player, team owner, and spectator. In 2008 Dale was diagnosed with Brain Cancer. While Dale passed away in 2012, the fundraiser continues to raise awareness and support for the cause.
This year's event included several hockey teams with the Mud Bugs kicking things off with a game, silent auction, and 50/50 draw in St. Jean on Thursday, January 31. On Saturday, February 2 the fundraiser event continued at the Morris Multiplex with the Winter Carnival, additional hockey including a game between the host Twisters and visiting Eastman Raiders, 50/50 draw, and silent auction.
There was also a head shave that saw the entire Twisters team shed their locks along with others who earned donations by pledging to shave their heads. Included in that was Constable Paige Kuz of the Morris RCMP who alone raised $6,000.
"That's beyond cool. That is taking something to the next level with community, commitment and desire to help," said Pat Schmitke, one of the organizers behind the fundraiser and part of the PV Twisters ownership group. "She's got a great head of hair so it's a pretty big deal for her to do that but we're very appreciative.
Kevin Clace went so far as to also shave off his eyebrows for the cause, and Morris Fire Chief Wes Zilkie raised thousands in pledges to keep his hair.
Co-Organizer Shawn Graydon says the success comes from the community spirit. "People come together for the great cause, and we've been fortunate the Pembina Valley Twisters have been able to make this happen."
Schmitke says thanks is owed to everyone who helped support the event and the army of volunteers behind the scenes, "it's so important in making it a success like it was."
"It was spectacular," he adds.
The funds generated this year will be split with CancerCare Manitoba, and the family of 5-year-old Urijah Dyck, a local boy fighting T Cell Leukemia and Lymphoma.