Rob ‘Turkey’ Kielesinski and Rachel Mitchell of the B.C. Cancer Foundation.

Turkey’s party blasts record

A Cloverdale party with a purpose nets $18,600 for the B.C. Cancer Foundation.

Rachel Mitchell remembers the first time her job took her to Cloverdale.

It was eight years ago, and she was representing the B.C. Cancer Foundation at a relatively straightforward-sounding local fundraiser.

The Abbotsford resident was in for a surprise.

Turkey’s Party Makers charity golf tournament is an annual fundraiser that combines wacky golf, fun prizes, and zany snail races (“Slick As Snot” is a perennial contender) with an evening of dinner and dancing, all in support of the B.C. Cancer Foundation, which funds cancer research through the B.C. Cancer Agency.

Traditionally held in September on the weekend after Labour Day, the event raises money for lung cancer research, in memory of Marion, mother-in-law to Rob “Turkey” Kielesinski.

Turkey’s Marion Cancer Fund is the only event benefiting the B.C. Cancer Foundation that’s earmarked for the disease, notes Mitchell.

“I actually don’t have any other events that go to lung cancer,” she said.

Guests play nine holes of golf, using hockey sticks or tennis racquets and everyone wins a prize, then they all head back to the novelty store’s giant warehouse in Cloverdale for a dinner and dance.

It’s one of the most exclusive invites on the Cloverdale social calendar; tickets are just $50 but they’re for sale by invite only.

It’s also one of the most successful fundraisers going, especially considering its scope – just one business and staff, throwing a giant bash for friends.

Now in its 19th or 20th year (there’s some debate), the event has raised in 2014 the most money it ever has:  $18,600, busting last year’s record-setting $15,000.

“It was an older crowd,” he grins. “More money.”

Half of the donation is raised by patrons, an amount that Turkey’s Party Makers matches each year.

Sadly, “It doesn’t seem to get any better,” Rob observes, noting how cancer continues to impact the lives of people within the event’s circle.

Just before dinner, the hosts read out a list of names of those who have lost their lives to cancer in the previous year.

“It’s brutal.”

Funds go to the B.C. Cancer Agency’s Fraser Valley Centre Centre in Surrey.

According to Mitchell, who’s been attending the party as a liaison for the B.C. Cancer Foundation for only the past eight years, the event raised $438 its first year in 1993, and  has grown steadily, adding up to $138,000 over two decades.

Follow the Cloverdale Reporter on Twitter and Facebook. View our print edition online.

Just Posted

Market Days return Sept. 21

Street festival will once again take over downtown Cloverdale

International South Asian expo pitched for Surrey’s Bear Creek Park

Mayor Doug McCallum says the idea ‘shows a lot of promise’

White Rock council declares disapproval of ride-hailing rules

City to submit resolution to UBCM, send letter to B.C. Passenger Transportation Board

Celebration of life set for Ray Gemmill

Veteran horseman passed away July 31

Guilty plea in Lower Mainland break-and-enter spree

Gordon Vincent Gladstone, 42, was charged with 12 counts relating to a dozen incidents in late 2018

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

B.C. forest industry looks to a high-technology future

Restructuring similar to Europe 15 years ago, executive says

RCMP conclude investigation into 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire

Files have been turned over to BC Prosecution Service

B.C. wants to be part of global resolution in opioid company bankruptcy claim

Government says settlement must include Canadian claims for devastation created by overdose crisis

Vancouver police officer hit with bear spray mid-arrest

Officer had been trying to arrest a woman wanted province-wide

B.C. ends ‘birth alerts’ in child welfare cases

‘Social service workers will no longer share information about expectant parents without consent’

U.S. student, killed in Bamfield bus crash, remembered as ‘kind, intelligent, talented’

John Geerdes, 18, was one of two UVic students killed in the crash on Friday night

B.C. communities urged to improve access for disabled people

One in four B.C. residents has disability, most want to work

UVic students killed in Bamfield bus crash were from Winnipeg, Iowa City

Authorities said the two victims were a man and a woman, both aged 18

Most Read