Curl for cancer in Fredericton

New Brunswickers gathered at the Winter Capital club in Fredericton to raise money for cancer research during the last week of January.

Participants raised $1,290. Photo: Sara Perez

The Canadian Cancer Society organized the event. January and February are the curling seasons for the society.  Twelve teams played three draws. By the end of the day, every team played two games. This year the tournament raised $1,290.

“Cancer is a really big disease in Canada and everywhere for that matter,” said community resource coordinator Jessica Fitzherbert. It was her first time leading the coordination of the tournament.  “More and more people seem to get diagnosed every year. So it’s always important to stay up on research and programs for people who have cancer or support for the families, or people who are affected by cancer.”

The Canadian Cancer Society opened in 1938. It’s a community based organization of volunteers who want to improve the life of people who have cancer. They support research, education and diagnostic programs across Canada. In New Brunswick the society organizes fundraising events every month.

The disease is the leading cause of death in the country. It’s also responsible for 30 per cent of deaths in Canada, according to the society’s research findings. On average, 500 Canadian are diagnosed with the cancer every day.

The society counts with thousands of volunteers who organize activities to raise money in Canada. They’ve been ranked the best partner for the fight against cancer in the country. In New Brunswick, the University of Moncton is one of the leading research organizations for the society.

Part of their strategic plan is to reduce the cancer incidence rates, reduce cancer mortality rates and improve the support for people who have the disease.

It has raised more than $40 million dollars for research and cancer patients  throughout its history.

Participants of the curling tournament are able to reach the Fredericton community and support each team by opening a webpage in the society website. People from every age or background can take part of the games or create their own team. People can also enter the event as an individual participant. The society also accepts donations from people who raise money by doing other activities.

“I think fundraising for cancer is important. My mom is a breast cancer survivor,” said Nicole Simpson, one of the participants in the tournament. It’s her first time participating in the fundraising event. She said she likes to support events that improve cancer research. She liked being able to raise money by spending good time with friends and meeting people as well.

Although this was Simpson’s first time curling for cancer, curling teacher Tony O’Brian has participated in the tournaments for several years.

Tony O'Brian has participated several times in the curling tournaments for the society. Photo: Sara Perez
Tony O’Brian has participated several times in the curling tournaments for the society. Photo: Sara Perez

“So many people are touched by cancer, me included,” said O’Brian. “The money is doing good work. We still haven’t found the answer, but it’s doing good work. I have family members who are alive today because of research. That’s why I think it’s important.”

This year is the society’s 75th anniversary. They’ve contributed in reducing tobacco advertising, promoting smoke-free environments and advertising health warnings. They also organize Relay for life events in different universities across the country. In 1986, cancer death rates  fell 40 per cent since research started.

The society will be hosting curling tournaments in other cities across New Brunswick, including Saint John, Moncton and Bathurst.