The Rimbey Community Centre was packed from top to bottom on Thursday, Oct. 30 for a gala event in support of breast health. The crowd of more than 350 people, including a few gentlemen, gathered to pay tribute to breast cancer survivors while raising awareness and some much needed funds for ongoing education and research into the disease.
“All of us have been touched in some way by this common disease and constantly changing innovations in treatment have vastly improved the chances of survival,” said Event Coordinator Barb Chalmers. “We were extremely pleased with the turnout. Two years ago we did a fashion show as a tribute to some friends and family that have died from breast cancer. This time our focus was on survivors of breast cancer. The last one was also very successful but the number of guests this time more than doubled.”
After enjoying a delicious meal, patrons of the event were treated to a fashion show featuring approximately 30 models introduce by emcee Carole Kellough who were adorned in fashions designed for all ages, sizes and occasions including clothing for the career-minded, winter vacationers and those planning a night on the town.
In addition, an information display provided by the David Thompson Health Region’s Community Health Centre provided handouts to those in attendance.
The evening also featured a musical performance by Vivian and the Volcanoes who gave the audience their version of the ever-popular tune, Super Trooper by the Swedish band ABBA.
As for the big increase in attendance, which included spectators from throughout central Alberta including Ponoka and Red Deer, Chalmers credited a heightened advertising campaign, which, in turn, resulted in a raising a substantial amount of money.
We advertised the event in a number of communities including Red Deer, which widened the area where people came from. We raised approximately $4,200 and it will go towards Breast Cancer Education and Research,” she said.
“As women, any one of us could find ourselves facing this disease and we want to do what we can to support those of us who are experiencing this reality,” Chalmers added.
According to the Canadian Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian women. In 2008, an estimated 22,400 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 5,300 will die of it, but by no means is breast cancer limited to women as an estimated 170 men will also be diagnosed with breast cancer and 50 will die of it.
And while the statistics paint a grim picture; on average, 431 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer every week and 102 Canadian women die of breast cancer every week, there is hope as the incidents of death from breast cancer have steadily declined since 1969 in women aged 20 to 39 years of age.