Atillia Nakanyole

Backyard party raises close to $2,000 for MS Society

A community gathering of family, friends and neighbours on Saturday resulted in nearly $2,000 being raised

A community gathering of family, friends and neighbours on Saturday resulted in nearly $2,000 being raised for the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society of Canada.

The backyard party, held in Westwood Lanes, saw about 50 people bid on a variety of silent auction items in support of the cause, and enjoy the musical entertainment of Flashback Freddy throughout the evening.

Treena Mielke, who both hosted and helped organize the party, was astounded by the level of generosity shown by those who attended.

“It still surprises me — the generosity and the enthusiasm,” she said. “It just gives you a really good feeling.”

This year marked the second time the party has been hosted by Mielke, whose husband and daughter both have MS. But the event wasn’t always intended to be a fundraiser, she explained.

“It started out as one of my bucket list items to just have a party outside with a fire and music and everything, kind of using MS as an afterthought to just raise money if people want to make a donation,” she said. “Then my sister said let’s do a silent auction, and the silent auction has really taken off.”

A 15-minute helicopter ride was one of the many items up for grabs through the auction, and brought in $150 for the cause.

About $1,200 was raised through last year’s party, and Mielke was pleasantly surprised by its significant growth this year.

She’s planning on hosting it again next year, possibly in a small indoor venue. The move, she said, would allow for even more people to attend, and provide adequate shelter in the event of inclement weather.

“The heavens opened up (on Saturday) and it poured rain, which kind of added to it, and there were some people dancing in the rain,” she said. “The tent helped, of course, but we’re thinking next year we might see about getting a small hall and maybe making it a bit bigger.”

Donations are still being accepted before the funds are delivered to the MS Society’s Central Alberta chapter in Red Deer. Information on how to donate is available by calling Mielke at 403-350-9453.

In the meantime, Mielke is hoping people will mark down next year’s party in their calendars.

“People just love it, and it’s so worthy,” she said. “It’s for a really good cause.”