Men donate nearly $20K to fight ovarian cancer

Nearly 200 cheques for $100 each donated to Ovarian Cancer Canada by Halifax men

More than 100 men came together Wednesday night for their fourth meeting this year to give money to local charity. Photo: Mark Henderson

More than one hundred men made an ovarian cancer charity the big recipient at a fundraiser Wednesday night.

Three charities — ALS Nova Scotia, Parkinsons Society Maritime Region and Ovarian Cancer Canada — gave a five-minute pitch to more than 100 donors at Saint Mary’s University. The pitches highlighted what the group would do with the funds and why the money is important.

2,600 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year. Photo: Mark Henderson

This year’s recipient was Ovarian Cancer Canada which received $19,800 in donations tonight alone. The final amount is still yet to be counted as cheques are being dropped off by members who were not able to attend the meeting.

The Atlantic representative for Ovarian Cancer Canada acknowledged the “special gift” from the men.

Emilie Chaisson said the donation was “more unique because it’s a female cancer and it’s a topic that many men are uncomfortable with.”

Chaisson said the money will go toward providing support programs for people with ovarian cancer such as facilitators, paid speakers on topics that concern women and their families while also allowing women to get together and support each other.

“It’s a fact that people who are going through serious illnesses who have support have better outcomes, so that’s one of the main things we’ll use it for,” Chaisson added.

Members of the group agree to donate $100 every quarter to a charity chosen by a plurality of anonymous votes. Photo: Mark Henderson

The recipient receives the sum of the money raised, while the other two charities come away with the knowledge that awareness of their cause has reached hundreds of men who care.

On Wednesday evening however, both non-recipients received a $500-donation from an individual member.

The receiving charity cannot be re-nominated for five years after receiving the donation. The remaining two charities cannot be nominated for at least a year after their pitch.

Started as a challenge

100 Men Who Give a Damn was started by Steve Foran, Bill VanGorder, and Alex Handyside after co-founder of 100 Women Who Care Colette Robicheau challenged her colleagues at a networking event saying, “bet you couldn’t find five men who care.”

Four months later, 100 Men Who Give a Damn held their first meeting, attracting more than 170 men, more than 34 times Robicheau’s challenge. That number is increasing every year, said VanGorder.

“It was really gratifying. We thought we’d get a reasonable turnout, maybe 70-80 but to get around 170 was absolutely fantastic,” VanGorder said.

Over $110K raised

More than 150 men have attended each meeting, raising a total of $110,000 in just four one-hour-long meetings.

Children’s Wish Foundation, The Nova Scotia SPCA, North End Community Health Centre and now Ovarian Cancer Canada have been recipients so far.

The funds must be used toward projects in the Halifax Regional Municipality.

There are at least 17, 100 Men organizations in North America according to the 100 Men Halifax website.

100 Men Who Give a Damn Halifax’s sister organization 100 Women Who Care has raised more than $112,000 since March 2013. Their next meeting is on Dec. 2 and the group says it has more than 300 members already registered.