While the hoopla associated with the recent Wild Pink Yonder tour may have been very high profile, there is another ongoing campaign to raise funds for cancer research, which, at its heart, is much more personal. In fact, if you’re lucky, the only time you might catch a glimpse of it is on your wedding night.
Jean Parent of Whitehorse, Yukon was in Rimbey just prior to the arrival of the wagon tour for a visit and despite the fact she may be a relatively unknown in the community – besides her family, of course – she has near single-handedly raised more than $24,000 for cancer research by creating that most intimate of women’s apparel – the garter.
Not only does the idea fit hand-in-hand with the costumes associated with the Gold Rush that opened the Yukon to all sorts of prospectors and those who catered to them, but it also gave her an opportunity to do what she could for cancer research in light of the fact her grandson was diagnosed with leukemia.
“We have a winter carnival that’s part of raising funds. The first year we did it with just the people in our parish and most of the women who dressed up for our carnival in costume are working people,” Parent said. “The next year I went to the Canadian Cancer Society and they said I could do it if I wanted, and I thought all we could do is try.”
Beginning in 1996, she made 48 garters which quickly sold out, and has been going strong every since. As of this year, she has produced more than 2,400 garters, all of which have been sold in Whitehorse with the profits being forwarded to the Canadian Cancer Society.
As an added bonus, the Wal-Mart outlet in Whitehorse stocks the garters, which sell for $10 each, and matches every sale dollar-for-dollar.
“I can’t say how long it takes to make one because I make them in bundles of 20,” Parent said. “Last year I had the flu and asked my son to move the sewing machine into the front room because I was tired of laying on the couch watching television and while I was sitting there I made 480 garters in six weeks.”