Chestermere-Strathmore MLA Leela Aheer hosted a fundraiser on Sept. 26 at the Langdon Firehouse and Grill aiming to raise money and awareness for the Alberta Cancer Foundation.
Sip and Snip with Leela, as it was called, was an open invitation for constituents to come down and submit donations for the cancer society. Aheer’s goal on event day was to raise $20,000, and she hopes to reach $100,000 by the end of the week.
“We’re just coming out of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and going into Breast Cancer Awareness Month… and with everything that’s been going on, there are folks (who) are being triaged right now for cancer treatment in hospitals,” she said.
For every thousand dollars raised through the fundraiser, Aheer allowed a braid of her hair to be snipped off.
Aheer explained the Alberta Cancer Foundation, being completely funded by the public, has already blown through its budget this year.
“The Alberta Cancer Foundation helps out with everything. What happens is, you’ll get (Alberta) Blue Cross to handle things like anti-nausea drugs and other things like that, but it doesn’t always cover it,” she said.
“So, the Alberta Cancer Foundation steps in [and] helps out with everything from anti-nausea drugs to immune boosting drugs, they are actually helping to pay mortgages for people right now, because of COVID.”
Alongside the chopping of Aheer’s hair, a silent auction was held and t-shirts were sold – all of which came by donation to the cause as an incentive to generate more for the fundraiser.
According to Aheer, over 900 families and nearly 6,000 individuals benefited from the services of the Alberta Cancer Foundation last year.
She explained she believes raising money for the foundation to be essentially a no-brainer and simply wants to give back to the folks who help to save lives.
“Anything that I could do to help bring some light and shed it on that at this time. For me, getting rid of my hair is just such a small price to pay in order to raise awareness and get some money to these folks who are helping out so many people.”
“It’s a perfect moment in time right now, when the world is very divisive and if we can bring people back together to unify under a cause… this brings the best out in people.”
The site will be open to taking in donations until Oct. 2 and all of the proceeds will be sent to the foundation.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times