Sisters for Life celebrate another successful Gala
Sisters for Life committee members take a short pause from the Finch Ladies Night Gala to raise a toast. From left, Meghan-Tia Robertson, Patsy Casselman – Chair, Joy Krol, Angie Beehler, Kim Casselman, Sue Casselman, Monique Rutley, Wendy Heagle and Maureen Robertson.   O’Donohue photo

Women at the Ladies Gala in Finch on Nov. 17 enjoy their dinners. Each team was responsible for decorating their table, and guests went all out on décor. O’Donohue photo

Michelle O’Donohue
Record Contributor
FINCH – The fourth annual Christmas Ladies Gala took place on Fri., Nov. 17, at the Finch Community Centre. The banquet hall was bustling with women who attended the event to help raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS). The Sisters for Life Committee hosted the event. Prior to this year’s Gala, the Sisters for Life team has raised over $70,000 for the CCS.

There were 21 tables of women, and each table was decorated to the nines. Sisters for Life Chair Patsy Casselman explained that Christmas was the unifying theme given to all attendees, but from there, team captains and their tables were responsible for choosing a more specific theme, and decorating their table. A few of the creative entries included; Ice Queens, Canadian Christmas, Snowflakes and Diamonds, Candy Cane Dreamland, and Cinderella’s Winter Ball. The tables were impressively decorated, as there were prizes for best décor on the line. Teams brought in china, centrepieces, and some even included decorations cascading from the ceiling above their table. Many teams also dressed in coordinated costumes. One table, with the theme of Christmas Past, brought in antique chairs to the venue to further enhance their theme. Each attendee was given two ballots to cast their votes for their ‘Favourite Table’, and the ‘Pinterest Worthy’ table. After the ballots were counted, Favourite Table was awarded to Canadian Christmas, table captain, Janet Mayer, and Pinterest Worthy Table to Candy Cane Dreamland, table captain, Angie Jackson.

Scotiabank representatives were on site as part of their matching funds grant. From left, Patricia Stinson, Sue Toll, Maggie Lang and Nancy Miller-McKenzie. Stinson, Lang, and Miller-McKenzie work out of the Chesterville Branch, where Miller-McKenzie is the Branch Manager. Toll is a representative from Osgoode. O’Donohue photo

In addition to the decoration competition, one of the big events of the night was the silent auction. Casselman advised that auction items were donated from individuals and businesses across SD&G and the city of Cornwall. Sue Stewart acted as master of ceremonies for the event. There was a photo booth, volunteer photographer, raffles, dessert table, and Christmas music playing in the background. The DJs for the evening, Jeff Van Gessel and his wife Kaity, volunteered their time to participate in the event. A signature drink was created for the night as well, dubbed the “Barbie Shot” and was a big hit. The drink was served in champagne flutes. Scotiabank was on hand to oversee two raffles, and as part of their matching funds grant. Later in the night, there was also a live auction, and once the formal part of the evening concluded, the DJs turned up the music, and Casselman advised, “several ladies hit the dance floor.”

During the opening remarks, Casselman stated that while the night provides a great opportunity to spend time with friends, the primary importance of the evening is to raise money for the CCS. Midway through the evening, guest speaker Jordan Coleman delivered a moving speech about his own experience with cancer. Coleman is a 26-year-old cancer survivor. He noted that the reason he believes he was able to survive his battle was, “I survived because I had a caring family that kept hope alive, I survived because I had a mother to take care of me day and night… but mostly I survived because of what we are doing with modern medicine.” He went on to say, “thanks to the quality of treatment I had, and I’m positive through research funded by the Canadian Cancer Society, I managed to beat the dramatic odds.”

Coleman concluded his speech with a reading of the poem What Cancer Cannot Do, by Dr. Robert Lynn, during which survivors and individuals currently battling cancer were asked to stand. Following the poem, all attendees lit tea lights, and stood for a moment of silence to recognize those who have passed, and those who are still battling cancer. The official total raised at the event is still being tabulated, and will be announced in next week’s issue of The Record.