The motivation for your charity was a personal one with a personal story, how did it go from a personal experience to a shared one?
It was a very personal story as we lost our dad to prostate cancer just over 3 years ago. It became a shared one when we started spreading awareness through throwing a party/fund-raiser in our backyard annually. It was amazing to see our friends, family and neighbours all come together to support such a great cause.
You are working within a larger initiative within the november movement, how does this far reaching community affect and help your events and fund-raiser?
We work very closely with the University Health Network (UHN). They have been a great support and partner. They also ensure that 98% of the donations we give them go to actual prostate cancer surgery and recovery instead of a large portion being lost in administrative fees etc.
The title of your annual fundraiser Bob’s Movemeber Moustache and Cleavage Party. What a great name, what was the creative spark for it?
Thank you. Our dad’s name was Bob and with November being the month to support prostate cancer the first part was easy! The cleavage part was added when we started working with a friend on the event. It was her initiative to improve awareness for breast cancer at the same time. Unfortunately she decided she wanted the cleavage part back so we’re now just Bob’s Movember Moustache Fundraiser!
Putting on an event of this scope requires many diverse skills and expertise. What skills did you have from the get go and what skills did you acquire?
I used to work in high end hotels and we would hold a lot of events. I became very interested in organizing them from start to finish. It was a natural transition for me. The skills I think I naturally had were mostly organizational. I always focused on finding the right people and then empowering them. No one can put on an event like ours by themselves. My family and friends are major parts in our success. I think I have acquired the ability over time to delegate a lot more effectively. It’s the key if you ask me.
This year’s event at the Berkeley Church was your 8th annual event. How has the event evolved?
From 75-100 people in our backyard to 250 + at Berkeley Church we’ve done a full 360. We used to just ask for donations and we would provide food and beverages for our guests. We started with auctioning off single people for additional donations and now we have a silent auction with over 40 items. We have incorporated over the years a best Moustache award, 50/50 draws and raffles for E Bikes. The one thing that hasn’t changed very much is the amount of love and support we receive and that’s what’s most important to us!
You have built an amazing community of participants for your cause, which in turn has raised significant funds toward the Cain Foundation. How have you built such an engaged, committed following dedicated to supporting your cause?
We are so lucky to have such a great base of friends and supporters that they just seem to grow more and more every year. It definitely happens with the help of our Brokerage Sage Real Estate who have been nothing but amazing from the get go. Helping us with graphics, signage, volunteers and incredible support. We have started a board this year which has enabled us to really cover some major ground in terms of finding supporters, donations and over all becoming a more efficient and productive team. Social Media has been an incredible tool as well. The exposure we have gained has been incredible and when people hear about our cause I think a lot of them are compelled to help and get involved.
Here is a quote from your foundation, “Please come out and donate or just donate to our cause. Know that less than 2% of the funds we collect go towards administration fees – your donation will be put directly in the hands of cancer doctors who can and are making a difference.” This is amazing! What an achievement. It must take a very precise, strategic approach to be able to pull this off, plus a large network of volunteers. How do you achieve this?
The only credit we can take for this is finding the right team to work with, That being UHN. Kristi Spencer and Colin Bloom have been amazing. They showed us how much of a difference our donation makes and it inspires and motivates us to raise more and more every year.
What are some of the aspirations you have for your foundation?
Our largest aspiration is to spread awareness. If we can avoid this terrible disease in the first place we’ve done exactly what we set out to do. We would like to see the event turn into a plated dinner at around $250 a person. We want a silent auction table with over 100 items and we want the best musical and artistic talents to come out and promote our event and our cause so one day we can conquer cancer.
At the end of the night of your fundraiser what are the most rewarding thoughts you have?
The thought of our dad being proud of us is most definitely number one. Secondly, that our friends and family are getting tested and ensuring that they don’t have to endure what so many before them have. Thirdly, that those people who weren’t lucky enough to catch it ahead of time have a chance to get better due to the funds we raise on the night of our event.
Photography: Paul McNulty
Venue: Berkeley Church