A pair of Langley’s most popular twins are at it again.
Chris and Jamie Ruscheinski are gearing up for the holiday season, and asking hundreds of friends, family, and complete strangers to help bring some Christmas cheer to the sick and dying children at Canuck Place in Abbotsford.
During the past five years, these two men have created and grown the Gone Country charity concert every July in Cloverdale. This year’s cancer fundraising concert generated more than half a million dollars for the cause.
But that wasn’t sufficient for these boys. They wanted to do more.
So, last winter, the brothers initiated something new. In fact, they created two events held in one day, in one location.
They introduced RAD Santa and the Long-Table Christmas Gala at Potters Nursery.
In one day, they provided an opportunity for people and pets to have pictures taken with their RAD Santa – in exchange for a donation to the Twins Cancer Fundraising.
Then, later that same night, after transforming Potters, they held a long-table gala.
Proceeds from the two events topped $50,000 and brought smiles to dozens of children and families at the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice in Abbotsford who received Christmas gifts and “so much more” thanks to the fundraisers.
This year, the boys got smart, Chris told the Langley Advance.
They decided to divide the two Christmas-themed events. He admitted the amount of work and amount of time (working from 7:30 a.m. on the Saturday morning through to 4 a.m. the following morning) required to host both events just about killed several of the volunteers – including himself.
This time out, they’re hosting the RAD Santa photo event at Potter’s on Thursday, Nov. 16. They’ll take photos of the furry friends from 4 to 5 p.m., then children and family pictures will be offered from 5 to 8 p.m.
Last year, they “put through” about 50 in the one day of picture taking and raised $2,500 – which in turn was matched by Potters.
Chris expects, now that RAD Santa is established, that those numbers will increase about 20 to 30 per cent this year.
“And there’s a lot more hype about it this year,” he added.
Refreshments and candy are also being offered by donation to the cause.
The twins also incorporating a new feature to the RAD Santa event – something that was piloted during last year’s gala.
They’ve pre-purchased more than 50 gifts specifically requested by children living in the Abbotsford hospice, and on Thursday, RAD guests can purchase those gifts.
The gifts will range from $10 and up, he said.
“It’s a great way for parents to be able to speak to their kids about buying a gift for a sick child – for someone who needs it, and not for themselves,” Chris said
Potters have been incredibly generous in not only offering up the facilities, but doing so much more. Potters is located near the Langley-Surrey border, at 19158 48th Ave.
Sold out in four hours
The gala is “full steam ahead,” Chris said, noting the $135-ticket went on sale about a month ago and all 275 seats sold out in four hours.
The gala is being held this Saturday, Nov. 18 at Potter’s again and in addition to a three-course meal by Sammy J’s, and desserts by Cedarbrook Bakery, there will be performances by six surprise artists – everything from singing, and fiddle playing to magic to dancing.
Like Gone Country, this twin’s initiative attracts a very generous crowd of younger people – primarily aged 25 to 40 years – who want to have fun, let loose, and help out, he said.
“It’s definitely not your parent’s gala,” Chris added.
Once the dinner is over the tables are pulled out and the nursery is transformed into more of a night club atmosphere.
This event includes a silent auction, and there will be a chance for guests to once again buy specific gifts for the Canuck Place kids (which will be delivered during the hospice houselighting party on Nov. 30).
The goal this year is to raise $50,000 from the gala alone, Chris said.
Over and above buying gifts for the kids, the Twins Cancer Fundraiser will be donating all other proceeds from the Christmas events to Canuck Place. But Chris said the specific project has yet to be determined.
Initially this summer’s Gone Country event was expected to raise $360,000, to fully furnish and equip four bedrooms in the children’s hospice.
Having raised an “epic” $520,000, instead, they were able to outfit all seven bedrooms, Chris explained.
Likewise, the year before, the Twins Cancer Fundraiser outfitted a music room and recording studio for the kids.
Chris said the new project will be equally as meaningful for the kids and their families.