My cousin Mary Ann died on the Friday before the Canadian Cancer Society Gala fundraiser. She had breast Cancer which had been in remission for over a year. It came back and in eight days she was gone. I dedicated “The Ride Of Your Life” to Mary Ann and I was almost too choked up to sing, but as I started to play I felt a spirit of strength and closing my eyes I delivered the song to an already emotional audience. People told me after they were in tears during the song but it’s no wonder because so many of the guests have been directly affected by Cancer in one way or another. I soberly introduced cancer survivor, MLA Sindi Hawkins. Sindi not only told her incredible story but introduced a young woman who shared her hospital room. Genevieve modeled internationally and before she was diagnosed she was blonde. Eventually, bald from radiation treatment she had a stem cell transplant from her brother and tohere on the podium she stood with curly brown locks . . . just like her brother’s hair.
The TV personality from Global TV had taken ill and I was asked to co-host the event with actor Nancy Robertson. Nancy is plays Wanda on CTV’s Corner Gas and is actually married to comedian, Brent Butt the star of Corner Gas. Nancy apologized to the glitzy crowd for nagging them but said she was recently married and needed the practice. LOL
The live auction at the Gala was memorable because my wife actually had the guts to get up in front of the entire black tie room and challenged the bidders. The year before I had offered myself, performing an up close and alone show as an auction , and to my surprise I was auctioned off for $5000.00.
So my lovely wife, Laurel, powered by a couple flutes of champagne, she said ” For a year I’ve been sleeping with a five thousand dollar man, and tonight I’d love to sleep with a ten thousand dollar man”.
I can’t begin to tell you how embarrassed I was. What if nobody bid? I wanted to go hide, I was exposed. Time slowed to a wet watercolour and my face flushed as I scanned the room for uplifted paddles. I can’t remember how long I waited in that trance-like state. I do know that I was auctioned for ten thousand two hundred dollars. My wife would be going home with a ten thousand dollar man.
I was escorted and introduced to Sarah McLachlan, before the show and when Sarah saw me she said “Oh Hi, I thought you looked familiar”. That was so cool, Sarah McLachlan recognizing me, I suddenly remembered that we had crossed paths on a few other occasions. We had a remarkably comfortable chat and I thanked her for supporting a cause that I had been an honourary chairperson for 4 years. Sarah’s eye’s sparkled with a genuine look of gratitude and it struck me that this same magnetic charm must be a factor in her incredible success.
I was invited to sit at a sponsor’s table. Suzanne and Gary from Tentnology have had Laurel and I every year at their table. This year we had front row seats to watch Sarah McLachlan’s set. What a thrill to watch the Lilith Fair Diva so close. Her sweet breathy voice trilled familiar melodies that made every person in the room glad they spent the big bucks to attend this memorable function. It truly was a “Night To Remember”.