Food/art combo to help with campaign

A unique evening of great food and art will raise funds for a new mammography unit at the Cypress Regional Hospital.

The Taste of the Arts fundraiser in Shaunavon on March 28 will combine the talents of 10 chefs with the creativity of visual and performing artists to provide a memorable sensory experience.

The evening will also offer beverages from three well-known Saskatchewan producers of craft alcohol, and an auction of beautiful cakes by six bakers.

The event will be emceed by Rod Pedersen, the former voice of the Saskatchewan Roughriders and current host of the popular sports talk show, The Rod Pedersen Show. The evening’s guest speakers will be breast cancer survivor Anita Hindley and her husband Everett, who is the MLA for Swift Current.

Sharon Dickie is a member of the committee that organized this event in support of the Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation’s Close to the Heart campaign for a new digital mammography unit at the Cypress Regional Hospital in Swift Current.

“I'm very excited and also a little nervous at this point as an organizing member,” she said. “We are very anxious to sell our tickets and get this event out in the public. We've worked very hard to bring an event to Shaunavon that's going to be very entertaining.”

The Close to the Heart campaign’s fundraising goal of $350,000 has almost been reached and the Healthcare Foundation is continuing with efforts to raise the remaining $75,000 with the help of residents in the region.

“It's such a critical piece of equipment that we're trying to raise funds for,” she said. “So we're going to try to put a dent in that figure on March 28 and hope that we can raise as much as we can for this great cause. I'm very proud to be from one of our communities in the rural southwest and I'm very proud of how people come together from our communities, and this is a cause that needs supporting. I think it's critical that we prove to everybody that we're there for a good cause.”

Residents from across the region will benefit from the availability of the latest technology in the Cypress Regional Hospital when the current 10-year-old mammography unit is replaced with a new digital machine.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in Canada. One in eight women and one in 25 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Early diagnosis and accurate assessment of breast cancer ensures successful treatment for patients. leads to better therapies and more successful outcomes for patients.

“Cancer has no boundaries and our regional hospital in Swift Current is our service hospital,” she said. “We need to have the best equipment available to us, and part of that is the new mammography unit that's going to be replacing the existing one. It affects all of us. We may start at our local healthcare centre or in our general practitioner offices, but then it's off to Swift Current and from there it's to our cancer centres in either Regina or Saskatoon.”

Dickie is a breast cancer survivor and she has been involved with the Close to the Heart campaign from the start. She was a guest speaker at the campaign’s kick-off breakfast in June 2019. She was diagnosed five years ago with stage 4 breast cancer that has metastasized through her lungs.

“I somehow survived,” she said. “I was not prepared for much other than not a very positive outcome. However, I survived after a year of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation, and I have been in remission for three years now. I've become very aware of the cancer that seems to be disproportionate in our southwest communities and my hope is to be an advocate for breast cancer survivors and for young women who no long can assume that you're safe from breast cancer until you're 50. That's no longer the case. Every day there's one more diagnosis that affects young families.”

She approached the Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation in November with the idea of arranging a fundraising event in the rural southwest. She and five other women (Sandie Greenslade, Carol Hansvall, Shelley Rhodes, Leanne Thomas, Kathy Wilkins) formed an organizing committee to arrange an event in Shaunavon. Dickie and two other committee members are breast cancer survivors.

“So there certainly was a personal interest here in making this event as successful as we could,” she said. “Once we got our heads together, we came up with something that we thought was a little bit unique and we named it the Taste of the Arts.”

The 10 chefs will showcase their talents with the food created for the event. All the food vendors are from the southwest. The three drink vendors are Cypress Hills Winery, Black Bridge Brewery at Swift Current, and Saskatoon’s Lucky Bastard Distillery.

The participating artists are Regina singer-songwriter Wanda Gronhovd, Eastend potter Stephen Girard, Frontier leatherworker Mark Rawling as well as several Shaunavon artists – painter Raene Poisson, jewelry designer Barb Wagner, and floral designer Audrey Matyka.

Taste of the Arts patrons will be able to watch the visual artists create artistic pieces that will be auctioned at the event to raise funds for the Close to the Heart campaign.

“It's going to be a fun evening where you can enjoy some food and beverages and lots of visiting,” Dickie said. “We want it to be a light and entertaining evening.”

Taste of the Arts takes place on March 28 at the Crescent Point Wickenheiser Centre. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., the presentation by the guest speakers will be at 7:30 p.m., and afterwards the live auction will follow.

The purchase of a passport will provide access to all the benefits of Taste of the Arts. Passport holders will be able to savour the presentations from the 10 food vendors and to enjoy beverages from the three drink vendors.

The price of a passport is $60 and includes a $30 tax receipt. These passports can only be purchased ahead of time through Western Financial Group in Shaunavon or the Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation in Swift Current.

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