Bearskin Airlines Hope Classic Celebrates 21 Years This Weekend
February 1, 2017
Starting on Friday and wrapping up on Sunday, The Bearskin Airlines Hope Classic is a curling bonspiel for women, which raises money to fight Breast Cancer. This year it is celebrating its 21st year! Already it has raised $2,875,000 in its history.
It all started when Linda Buchan, who had just recently undergone breast cancer treatment, was approached in 1996 by Barb Crooks, a breast cancer survivor, about starting a bonspiel to raise money for the Breast Cancer Support Group. The organizing committee worked on planning the bonspiel for just over a year and in 1997, the first annual Bearskin Airlines Hope Classic was held at the Fort William Club.
Linda approached Cliff Friesen, the co-owner of Bearskin Airlines about supporting the committee in this endeavour. Cliff’s daughter, Tammy Saliidas, had also just undergone breast cancer surgery and treatment. Cliff was supportive from Linda’s first meeting with him, and from that point on the committee has never looked back. This bonspiel is probably one of the most popular women’s bonspiels in Thunder Bay and the best part of the bonspiel is that all money raised stays in Northwestern Ontario. All money is donated to the Linda Buchan Centre through the Northern Cancer Fund of the Thunder Bay Health Sciences Foundation.
Linda, passed away on December 11, 2002, just before the 7th Annual Bearskin Airlines Hope Classic, and although it was extremely difficult for the committee, they all agreed to carry on with Linda’s Dream.
Linda never wanted the Bearskin Airlines Hope Classic to be about her. She wanted it to be about “making a difference to the lives of women in Northwestern Ontario.” Well, a difference has been made and her dream is continuing.
Support a Curler
All participants must raise a minimum of $100 in pledges, although many aim for much more than that! You can support a curler and ensure the Linda Buchan Centre has the best equipment for breast cancer screening and assessment to care for women in Northwestern Ontario. Online donations must be made by Friday, February 3 at 11:30 a.m.
Go to: hopeclassic.kintera.org