A new event took place on Friday, April 24, 2015 in London, Ontario. Cheri DeLargie, HSC’s London Chapter President, planned a charity dinner and casino night at Bellamere Winery. Cheri was looking for a way to get people outside of the Huntington’s community to participate in an event to spread the word, as well as raise funds. Given that this was a new event, there was much anticipation about of all the hard work it takes to put on an event.
Cheri has planned an annual Golf tournament for several years in London, so she dove in head first when planning this event. She wasn’t alone though; a friend of the HD community, Samantha Elliott, volunteered to help plan and execute the event with Cheri. With the support of the Huntington Society of Canada, the venue was booked, professionals were hired to run the casino, speakers were chosen, and tickets were sold.
People arrived for the evening for dinner beginning at 6:30, during which Leah and Jaclyn Skinner talked about their involvement with HSC and the virtual youth Chapter, Young People Affected by Huntington Disease (YPAHD). Dr. Hyson, a neurologist in London who supports the HD community, then said a few words before the casino began.As a new event, Cheri and Samantha found that it was difficult to get the number of attendees they wanted. Looking outside the Huntington’s community proved to be challenging, as the organizers noted that many people support more well-known diseases and charities. Although there were not as many tickets sold as they had hoped for, Cheri says the event was enjoyed and many expressed their excitement in returning to the event next year, “everyone commented on how fabulous the meal was, the atmosphere at Bellamere was great and what felt like a professional casino really made a huge difference.”
Through all the hard work and countless hours of planning, Cheri says it’s her kids that keep her going, “when my husband was diagnosed, we had no idea that it was in his family. I told myself I would do anything I could to raise money and awareness.” Stay tuned to www.huntingtonsociety.ca/events to get involved in events all over Canada.