Although it might be hard to believe, it is October already and October means Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Last year, RE/MAX, in partnership with the Cayman Islands Cancer Society, launched an ambitious effort to raise awareness and money for the Cancer Society’s Breast Cancer programmes through a unique gala fundraising evening.
The evening, intended to be a once off fundraiser, was a huge success and has now become one of the most anticipated events on the local social calendar.
This year’s event promises to build on the success of the first gala, with food, entertainment, guest speakers and a charity auction all lending a special atmosphere to the evening.
This year’s black tie gala will take place at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman on 17 October.
“This year, we have expanded the event from the 250 seats at the Westin to 500 seats at the Ritz-Carlton. We raised approximately $50,000, last year and are targeting $100,000, this year, despite the difficult economic times, since cancer does not differentiate between whether economic times are good or bad,” says Kim Lund, owner of RE/MAX Cayman Islands.
The gala’s keynote speaker will be Hoda Kotb, co-host of NBC’s Today Show and cancer survivor.
A four-time Emmy nominee, Hoda’s journalism career dates back to 1986. She has covered a wide variety of hard hitting stories, including natural disasters and wars. Yet it is her battle with breast cancer that has served as inspiration to many struggling with the disease. Her own battle and the subsequent long journey to recovery was captured on camera, to be shared with the world after she had beaten the disease.
For Kim, the event and its message is very important.
“It is helping to fill a need to support breast cancer awareness activities and support, sponsored by the Lions Club of Tropical Gardens and Cancer Society, among others,” he says. “It has been a passion and commitment for myself to support this worthy cause, since my late wife Brenda Tibbetts-Lund was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996,” he says.
Although the evening has a serious purpose, there will be more than enough entertainment, with performances by the Vivendi Cabaret, Bona Fide, and the Singrays, as well as dance tunes from DJ Craig.
One of the main events of the evening will be the live and silent charity auctions.
One of the big ticket items up for auction will be a painting by local artist Bendel Hydes. Currently living in New York, Bendel is one of Cayman’s foremost artists and his work Winter Solstice will be going on the auction block. The work, an oil on canvas measuring 84 by 96 inches was completed in 2002. The organisers of the event are inviting sealed bids for the painting before the auction and believe it would be the perfect addition to any office building.
All proceeds from the event will go to the Cayman Islands Cancer Society and Lions Club of Tropical Garden’s breast cancer initiatives.
According to Christine Sanders, director and chief operating officer of the Cayman Islands Cancer Society, the event forms a very important part of the organisation’s activities.
“Non-profit organisations, like the Cayman Islands Cancer Society, rely on the generous support of the corporate sector and individuals in the community to help fund their programmes and activities,”
“This year’s gala event is especially important as a part of the proceeds will go towards the establishment of the Cayman Islands Cancer Registry. The registry will collect information on the incidence and prevalence of cancer in the Cayman Islands and help shape cancer control policies in the country,” Christine says.
The information gathered by the registry should allow government to make more informed decisions on combating cancer in Cayman.
The event serves not only as a fundraiser but also as an outreach by the cancer society as it strives to keep the public informed on the dangers of cancer, and breast cancer in specific.
“Despite all of the information about breast cancer available on the internet and in the media, when I go out to do presentations, I still meet women over the age of 40 who have never had a mammogram,” Christine says.
“It is through the month-long awareness programme that organisations reach individuals like these and ensure they get their mammogram and pertinent information,” she says.
Kim, in underscoring the importance of the Breast Cancer Gala, says: “What makes this event so important is that the funds are used to directly help individuals who need assistance, as well as supporting awareness, and our local support groups like the Lions Club of Tropical Gardens and Cancer Society.”
For more information on the event, visit the event website at breastcancergala.ky. WH