In 2003, Che Bechard’s father passed away from prostate cancer. Six years later, Bechard was inspired to hold the first fundraiser for prostate cancer research at Baseline Wine & Spirit Co., his wine boutique in Sherwood Park. Since 2009, Bechard has held two fundraisers a year there, one in November and one in April, with all proceeds going to the Alberta Cancer Foundation. At the fundraiser, guests can participate in a wine tasting and silent auction. Nearly $65,000 has been raised to date for prostate cancer research.
Bechard takes very little personal credit for the fundraiser and is quick to recognize the generous contributions of people in his industry and community: “I like to acknowledge that we always get different reps or sales agents in our industry who not only donate their time, but donate the product that they pour,” Bechard says. “We have a huge table in our tasting room that has silent auction items that are donated by various people in the community.”
Offering encouragement to other small businesses interested in holding fundraisers, Bechard explains that the event had modest beginnings. “The event wasn’t always so huge,” he says. “In 2009 we started out quite small, we just handed out leaflets in the store here. We probably had between 50 and 75 people. As the years go by, more people hear about it and it grows and grows.” Now, Bechard’s fundraiser is an established community event that will continue supporting prostate cancer research for years to come.