Scrapbooking, cowgirls and ovarian cancer aren’t exactly synonymous, but on April 28 at the Drayton (PMD) arena, the combination resulted in a mighty fine day out for 100 women. Zeal for Teal 2012 marked the 4th annual fundraiser for the Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope (OCCWOH) and as a three and a half year survivor, I was happy to be part of it.
Zeal for Teal was the brainchild of my daughter, Amanda Newton. Distraught and feeling helpless after she learned of my diagnosis, she got on the computer, researched and soon discovered a national organization, Ovarian Cancer Canada (OCC) www.ovariancanada.org. She signed us both up for the 2008 OCCWOH and before I knew it, plans were being made for our first Zeal for Teal event.
“We have to do this,” my daughter insisted. I knew what she meant. The passion she showed was her way of dealing with my diagnosis and the more we learned about ovarian cancer, the more we realized the importance of detecting it early.
Because she was an avid scrap-booker and had plenty of connections in that area, my daughter suggested we invite women to spend a day together relaxing and being creative for the cause. We spoke about it at length – a healthy distraction for me as I was still facing the rigours of chemotherapy at the time. We got to work and before we knew it, we were celebrating our first Zeal for Teal PJ Party in the spring of 2009. Things blossomed from there. Word spread and the numbers grew. In 2010 we offered scrap-bookers a ‘Day at the Beach’ and in 2011 a lot of hopping and bopping took place with the 50’s theme.
This year, Zeal for Teal – Wild West, not only gave participants a knee-slappin’ great time in the ‘corral,’ but it offered women an opportunity to work on scrap-booking projects, while affirming the importance of providing support to one another. Information was presented that taught women how to pay attention to the oftentimes ‘quiet’ symptoms so typical of ovarian cancer.
In Canada 2,600 women are diagnosed each year and 1,750 succumb. There are no early detection tests, so the future for women with this gynecological cancer is bleak, unless diagnosed and treated earlier. According to OCC statistics early detection and treatment can result in a 90 per cent survival rate.
A major focus of Zeal for Teal is always to help raise awareness about ovarian cancer. Dana Maher Downey, former Drayton resident and veteran Zeal for Teal participant, shared what she learned over the four years that she has attended the event.
“I’ve learned that the warning signs of Ovarian Cancer mimic other less serious ailments and also, that early detection is key to beating ovarian cancer.” Downey is quick to indicate that without attending Zeal for Teal, she might not have acquired this knowledge.
Downey recently came up with a great slogan for the Zeal for Teal scrap booking and craft day – Let’s Scrap Ovarian Cancer! – as a way to give back and to remind everyone about why this annual event is in existence.
When asked about her motivation to attend initially in 2008 and each year thereafter Downey said, “I came initially to support Glynis Belec. She is an inspiration to all who are blessed to know her.”
Downey also enjoyed the day out and the camaraderie.
“I love the theme-filled day as it lets us be silly and carefree – a change from our everyday lives.”
But Downey stated the best part about Zeal for Teal is the reason that over 100 women gather on this day.
“…Even though we all spend our day laughing, scrap-booking, eating great food, playing games and more, I know that we are helping so many women in their fight against this disease that whispers.”
Drayton resident, Fran Turner, has also been attending the event since its inception.
“It’s a fundraiser that I like to support,” says Turner. [I like] hanging out with my girlfriends; it gets me out of the house doing something that I love!”
Turner looks forward to attending the event each year and reiterates the importance of how she has learned about early detection.
“I didn’t know much going into the first Zeal for Teal.”
Now she realizes how important it is for women to be aware if something does not feel ‘quite right’ and to take that first important step to see a doctor.
Community support for Zeal for Teal 2012 was astounding, including a $645 donation from Dale Franklin & Theresa Scholten, who hosted the Drayton Breast Cancer Luncheon on April 19. Teal Fridays at the Moorefield, Drayton and Arthur Royal Bank branches were a hit as bank employees graciously participated by wearing teal t-shirts every Friday for two months and donating $2 each time. They raised $200 for the cause, thanks to the initiative of Royal Bank Manager, Amber Tuck.
Louis Latham of Drayton donated the $100 grand prize once again this year. This was the fourth year that he gave this substantial and much appreciated prize to one excited participant. This year’s grand prize winner was Rachel Habermehl of Elora. Katrina Walters won free registration to Zeal for Teal 2013.
My daughter and I started out as the sole Zeal for Teal committee members, but over the years we have been joined by some enthusiastic helpers including Amber Tuck, Darlene Hauser, Amanda Hauser, Sue Bauman and Ann Latham. Vickie Downie treated participants to a free mini-manicure at the Wild West Shady Lady Hotel.
The Wild West theme with its original backdrops and scenery created by Anne Latham, helped produce a relaxing atmosphere for eager crafters as they donned cowboy hats, boots and scarves, ready for a day of fun with purpose. Although ovarian cancer is a serious health issue, the mood at this year’s event was anything but somber. Plenty of laughter and joy floated around the jam-packed room as women found their spots and helped themselves to moonshine muffins and cactus juice. Panning for gold was a popular attraction as blindfolded participants had 20 seconds to sift through 100 pounds of corn to find the gold nuggets. The Ten Gallon Hat Toss drew some laughter and an opportunity for some friendly competition, with committee member, Sue Bauman at the ready. Plenty of action happened at the photo booth, too, where participants got their photograph snapped by Jessika Sutton (Dream Photography) alongside some creative backdrops and props.
Cooks, Ann Kabbes of Arthur and Drayton resident, Yvonne Timmerman were creating masterpieces of their own in the kitchen as they rustled up some tasty grub for participants including Chuckwagon Stew, Prairie Spuds, Gold Mine in a pot, Cow Patties and more.
The General Store was a hit as committee member, Darlene Hauser, worked tirelessly as the proprietor and sold everything from beautiful awareness jewelry, to jars of soup and cookie mix. Generous donations of baked goods, fashion scarves, peppermint sticks and more were gratefully received and sold quickly in the store, too.
“I loved seeing the people come into the General Store to look at all the different things we had to offer,” Hauser said, “it is such a great feeling knowing people really care to be part of this fundraiser.”
Signed copies of A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider, an award-winning book that contains a story about my cancer journey, sold well with five dollars from the sale of each book going to Ovarian Cancer Canada.
Vendor Alley, including an onsite scrapbooking store, was abuzz with activity as representatives from Creative Memories, Stamping Up and Close to My Heart offered Zeal for Teal shoppers a place to purchase products for the day. Each vendor graciously donated a portion of their sales back to the fundraising.
Paula Sauder, Creative Memories representative and Drayton resident, indicated that she would love to come back in 2013. “I had a wonderful day and it was a great opportunity for me to network and meet local scrap-bookers.”
The organizers were plum tuckered out after a wonderful Wild West Kind of a day, yet it all seemed worth it in the end. When all the ‘gold’ was collected and the coins counted, it seemed the 100 plus cowgals who attended Zeal for Teal 2012 helped raise some mighty big bucks – $4000 was the end result that will go to the Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope. Now that’s a cause for a little hoopin’ and hollerin!