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Hundreds help to raise funds for Glioblastoma research

Local NewsHundreds help to raise funds for Glioblastoma research

Hundreds of local residents and out-of-town visitors attended a Glioblastoma brain cancer fundraiser in St. George on Friday, May 3, 2024.

The event, organized by the Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 605, was held at the Gaukel Memorial Community Centre as a celebration of the Tragically Hip’s, Gord Downie and to recognize those who are living with, or affected by brain cancer.

When Leslie Hendrickson first met Stacy Cornale at the Legion in the summer of 2022, she learned about her husband Mike and his diagnosis with Glioblastoma IDH.

Fiona Bell and Leslie Hendrickson speak about their mission to raise funds for Glioblastoma brain cancer during a fundraising event on Friday, May 3, 2024.

Glioblastoma is a fast-growing, aggressive brain tumor that invades nearby brain tissue and is the most prevalent high-grade primary brain tumor in adults.

Moved by Mike’s condition, Hendrickson and her friend, Fiona Bell, decided to throw a spring fundraising event in 2023 to help raise awareness about the infliction, as well as to raise much needed funds for research.

The inaugural sold out event raised $35,000 and all of the proceeds were donated to the Brain Tumor Foundation of Canada.

Andy Wehrspann, lead singer for Grace 2, sings the Tragically Hip’s “Cordelia” during the second annual Glioblastoma fundraiser on Friday, May 3, 2024.

Looking to continue raising funds for the foundation, this year’s second annual fundraising initiative included several raffle tables with donated prizes such as a smoker from Strodes BBQ & Deli, an in-home dinner for four with Chef D, a custom designed Tragically Hip themed guitar, a 20-year-old 8×10 photo of the Tragically Hip signed by all five members of the band and much more.

“Chef D” Darryl Fletcher, of Chef D Catering and Events, was also on-site selling bacon and cheddar tater tot poutine and crispy chicken sandwiches, with all funds going towards the big donation.

Mike Veitch, rhythm guitarist for Grace 2, performs the Tragically Hip’s “At The Hundredth Meridian ” during the second annual Glioblastoma fundraiser on Friday, May 3, 2024.

Throughout the event, Grace 2, a Tragically Hip tribute band, performed several iconic songs, kicking off with the band’s 1993 hit “Grace, Too.”

Lead singer, Andy Wehrspann, said that him and the band members were happy to once again be returning to the event and to help raise both the funds and awareness for the cause.

“This isn’t just about us playing for you guys, it’s about all of us having a party together and reliving the memories of the Tragically Hip,” said Wehrspann. “But also, very importantly, we believe that to truly pay tribute to the Tragically Hip and to honour Gord Downie’s legacy, we must use the power of the music to raise money for great causes like this one. Tonight, this is for all the people living with or affected by Glioblastoma, thank you.”

Attendees dance along to Grace 2’s rendition of the Tragically Hip’s “Grace, Too” during the second annual Glioblastoma fundraiser on Friday, May 3, 2024.

From “Cordelia,” to “At the Hundredth Meridian,” “Fully Completely,” “Lake Fever,” “Boots or Hearts,” “Three Pistols” and more, the band gave an authentic Tragically Hip experience with note-to-note accuracy and Gord Downie style vocals.

Hendrickson and Bell said that they were thrilled with the evening’s turnout and that they had already received a great response from attendees.

“It was a very good turnout, the energy was just amazing, and the crowd had such a great time,” said Bell. “We’ve had nothing but positive feedback so far.”

One attendee dances along to Grace 2’s rendition of the Tragically Hip’s “Looking for a Place to Happen” during the second annual Glioblastoma fundraiser on Friday, May 3, 2024.

While proceeds from the event are still being added up and donations continue to be made, Hendrickson and Bell shared that the total is currently sitting at just over $22,000.

“We’re still waiting for some more money to come in and there are a couple things that we still have to pay out, but we should have final numbers by the end of the week, so we’re excited to see where we land,” said Hendrickson.

Attendees browse one of the various raffle tables during the second annual Glioblastoma fundraiser on Friday, May 3, 2024.

The two organizers said that overall, they couldn’t have done it without the support of their dedicated volunteers.

“We couldn’t do it without all the help of the volunteers that we have,” said Hendrickson. “We had people that came from Paris, Brantford and Cambridge that really stepped up and volunteered the entire night. It’s really amazing and we just couldn’t do it without them.”

“Chef D” and “Chef Rick” pose for a photo in between servings of bacon and cheddar tater tot poutine during the second annual Glioblastoma fundraiser on Friday, May 3, 2024.

While the Bell and Hendrickson said that they had originally planned to only do the event twice, the two are already thinking about what they could achieve next year and encourage people to keep a lookout around town and on the Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 605’s social media for upcoming events.

Volunteers Melanie Bedford, Leah Emberley and Heather Emberley pose for a photo in between drink ticket sales during the second annual Glioblastoma fundraiser on Friday, May 3, 2024.
Several attendees purchase raffle tickets during the second annual Glioblastoma fundraiser on Friday, May 3, 2024.

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