Tag team fund-raising
Health department raises $9,606 to help fight breast cancer

Glen Korstrom
Northern News Services

NNSL (Oct 15/99) - Yellowknife's Run for the Cure for breast cancer research raised about $80,000 this year and the Department of Health and Social Services did their part, raising more than 10 per cent of that total.

The department included a 62-person team that raised $9,606 thanks to several creative ideas.

One of those ideas was a silent auction Sept. 30 hosted by Tony Whitford and attended by a majority of staff from the department.

"We solicited donations from people on all three floors of the department and we had just an incredible list of what people donated," said deputy minister Penny Ballantyne.

"For example, a weekend handyman service donated by Evan Walz. He'll come to your home for a couple hours and fix things."

Several people donated more than one item.

For example, Koop Allekma donated the idea of taking over coffee room duties for one week as well as a separate thing for people to bid on: an Indonesian dinner for two at the winner's home.

"We had some really interesting ideas in the auction like a Year 2000 survival kit (donated by Marie Doyle) that included five good books, a candle and mulled spices," Ballantyne said.

Some gifts at the auction received higher than expected bids.

For example Dr. Andre Corriveau donated some home-made pickled beets and someone bid $40.

Another gift came from department employee Vince Gauthier, who is also in the rock band Big Ethyl.

He convinced the other members of the band to donate a couple hours of entertainment though the gift came with the condition that the hall be indoors and heated.

Despite that stipulation, Ballantyne said she bought the entertainment gift for the department to enjoy at their annual picnic in June.

One source of satisfaction that came with garnering the most money to fight breast cancer was that the department beat the Stanton Regional Hospital, which was last year's winner.

"(The competition) started last year when they beat us. We thought, 'Gee, we're the department of health. We really should be leading the charge on this significant health issue'," said Ballantyne.

"This year we challenged Stanton as well as the other GNWT departments and challenged them to meet or beat our fund-raising effort."

Ballantyne stressed that the competition was all in fun and that the real winner in the fund-raising was the Canadian breast cancer foundation.

"One of the benefits for us, along with raising money for the Canadian breast cancer foundation, was the team spirit that working together for a good cause generates," she said.

"It feels good to do good and work together for a good cause."