Nite of Hope surpasses $1-million goal
After six years of bringing the Semiahmoo Peninsula together to battle breast cancer and raise awareness about the deadly disease, Nite of Hope has gone on an indefinite hiatus.
The April 12 gala was a “dream come true” for organizers, said committee chair Debi Rumley. The event, which raised more than $300,000 that night with help from community partners, exceeded its $1-million goal.
“It was huge, we were up to $950,000 going into the event, so we knew we were going to surpass our goal,” the breast cancer survivor said. “After seven years, we have raised $1.25 million.”
In late March, Rumley and co-chairs Tammy Ritchie and Lori Ishikawa announced they would be taking a break to focus on other areas of need in the community.
Since 2006, the three women – with a tremendous amount of support from their committee and the community – have stressed the importance of early mammography and funded breast cancer research.
At Thursday’s gala, the committee was finally able to show the fruits of its labour by introducing the three doctors – Ashley Davidson, Raj Kannan and Elisa Chan – whose research was a result of the money raised in the community.
“We were able to show people exactly where the dollars had gone,” Rumley said.
“My goal, after being diagnosed and losing a breast, was for women to understand if you catch it early, there are huge benefits. But I also needed to know that, in the background, there were doctors doing research to help make a difference. We’ve accomplished that.”
Davidson moved to B.C. after being granted a Nite of Hope fellowship with money raised in the community. The medical oncologist, who works at the BC Cancer Agency in Surrey, announced at Nite of Hope that his research has been accepted as an abstract for presentation at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting.
“These doctors are doing groundbreaking research with local money,” Rumley said.
The committee also gave thanks to the hundreds of volunteers, individuals and businesses in the community who helped make Nite of Hope a success since its inception, including late Peace Arch News publisher Linda Klitch, who died last fall after complications from surgery.
“She was a phenomenal woman. So many have been with us from the beginning and everyone is always so happy to volunteer because, one way or another, they have been affected by breast cancer,” Rumley said.
“Everyone touched it and everyone had a part in it. It was one of those places that really has a heart beat.”
Since launching in Richmond in 1994, Nite of Hope has raised more than $2.6 million.