Friday night a big night at the RCMP headquarters in St. John’s — the RCMP Klondike Night annual fundraiser for charities.
A news release notes the annual event attracts over 1,000 people and has raised $914,188.49 since 1983 for 43 charities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.
The aim this year — the final one for the event — is to raise $86,000 to push the total over the $1 million mark.
The beneficiaries of the fundraiser this year are the Candlelighters of and Children’s Wish Foundation — both children’s charities.
Rod Legge, president of the Candlelighters Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, said Candlelighters is a parent-volunteer organization that supports children and their families affected by cancer.
The group will use the Klondike Night donation to run its eight-day Camp Delight for oncology kids aged seven-17 and their siblings.
“One of our big programs we do every year is Camp Delight, for 60 plus children and siblings affected by childhood cancer,” he said.
Craig and Brenda Oldford’s 13-year-old son Ryan was diagnosed with kidney cancer 11 years ago. Brenda said the Candlelighters have been a strong support for the family over the years, and Ryan and his younger siblings — Nathan and Maria — have attended Camp Delight.
“Ryan had his kidney removed and went through chemotherapy,” she said. “At 13, everything is OK, and we thank all the people at the Janeway who helped get us here.”
She said the Candlelighters have been there all the way, living up to their slogan that support is important “because kids can’t fight cancer alone.”
“So for everyone here at the RCMP, please know that part of what you are doing is helping all our children fight cancer,” she said. “My children tell me camp is not about cancer. Camp is about going away and forgetting about cancer and having a lot of fun.”
Since 1984, the Children’s Wish Foundation has granted over 20,000 meaningful and life-changing wish experiences across Canada to children aged three to 17 diagnosed with a life-threatening illness — including more than 700 in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“We are working on 106 wishes at the moment. We hope to grant 50 this year alone,” said Edie Newton, Children’s Wish Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador chapter director.
“And because of events like this and the generosity and support of the RCMP, we hope to grant quite a few wishes from (Friday) night.”
Craig and Cindy Hickey’s two young sons — Logan and Jayden — were diagnosed with rare immune deficiencies.
The family spent 16 months in Toronto so Logan could undergo a bone marrow transplant and Jayden is undergoing treatment in an attempt to prevent him from having to undergo the same.
Both boys were granted wishes through the Children’s Wish Foundation.
“Logan wished to go meet the Montreal Canadiens, and Jayden wished to go to Disneyland and Lego Land,” Cindy said. “There are no words to describe how the wishes were. Thanks to the Children’s Wish Foundation, these little boys got a wish they otherwise would never have received.”
The Klondike Night doors open at 4:30 p.m. Friday. The event is open to the public, 19 years of age and over. There will be Black Jack tables, prize wheels, door prizes, a silent auction and 50/50 tickets.
Also, at Tipple's Klondike Kitchen, a buffet will be served — $10 gets a serving of moose, moose burgers, cod, baked beans, vegetables, chili, pea soup, dessert and coffee or tea. Or pay $5 for any three items. The buffet is open at 4:30 p.m. and stays open until the food runs out.
Only cash or cheque accpeted, but there will be an ATM machine on site. Klondike venues do not take credit cards.
The Klondike bar will be open from 4:30 p.m. to midnight with live bands.