It was a case of creativity vs. limitations. Creativity won in Vermilion. Anthony Martin and three-time cancer survivor Bernie Webb knew that in a small town you can’t rely on sheer numbers of people to raise money for a charitable cause. “Anthony and I started talking about a way to give back and hit on a hockey game,” says Webb. They adapted the plan as they went along, and the ensuing event, Rock the Fight, is a little like a town carnival for cancer.
Canadian Olympian Beckie Scott
The pair arrived at the idea of outfitting the players in pink hockey jerseys and then auctioning them off at a silent auction later. “There was a bidding war and some of them were sold for $500,” Webb says. Other items were a little pink ride-on tractor for kids, a 50/50 draw, “and we added a tailgate party in the third year.”
The four-year total is more than $100,000 benefitting the Alberta Cancer Foundation, with proceeds earmarked for various things at the Cross Cancer Institute, including an airbed, wheelchairs, research into kids’ cancer and, last year, a perometer. The device measures the limbs of patients who might be at risk of developing lymphodema, a dangerous and uncomfortable swelling of one or more limbs. This condition is a common side effect of breast cancer treatment.
“Last year we had Olympian Becky Scott come to Vermilion as a speaker,” Webb says. “Next we want Rick Mercer. I don’t know he knows that yet.” Vermilionites are hoping he’ll turn up to Rock the Fight.