Every year at the Williams Lake Stampede cowboys and cowgirls, spectators and volunteers come together and don the pinkest of shirts for Tough Enough to Wear Pink.
An initiative sponsored by Wrangler to promote the awareness of cancer through rodeo.
The Williams Lake Stampede Association uses the event as a way to raise funds for local charities who assist with cancer research, prevention and detection and individuals who are fighting the disease themselves.
During Sunday’s rodeo, $1 from every ticket sold is donated, as well as money the association has fundraised through raffles, pink bracelets, and ribbons. In past years, the Stampede Association has donated more than $50,000 to local residents and organizations fighting cancer.
This first recipient of this year’s Tough Enough to Wear Pink donation is Colin Sanford. Sanford is a proud father of two boys, aged nine and six and was diagnosed in May 2017 with cancer in his bowels, liver, stomach and bladder. Sanford has undergone chemo treatments to shrink the tumours, which remain in a stable condition — though the cancer is classed as incurable.
Through diagnosis and treatments, Sandford has been unable to work, and travels out of town for chemo treatment.
The Stampede Association hopes the funds will help to lessen Sanford’s financial burden.
The second portion of the Tough Enough to Wear Pink funds will go to the Hough Memorial Cancer Society in memory of three dedicated volunteers who have passed away due to cancer in the past year.
Barb Brown, the first of the three, was a common face at the Stampede Grounds, whether it was fixing something up, or riding in the arena as a Wild West Rider. Brown could be found around Stampede fixing fences, selling 50-50 tickets or up on a horse in the grand entry.
Brown passed away on Jan. 27.
Sylvia Rolph was also a longtime volunteer at the Williams Lake Stampede. A woman of many passions and who spent much of her time volunteering – be it with the Red Cross, SPCA or the Williams Lake Stampede – she dearly loved her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Rolph lost her short, but courageous battle with cancer on Jan. 15.
Finally, Joe Pushak was a longtime member of the Williams lake Stampede Board of Directors until he moved to the Okanagan in 2014. Responsible for the campground, Pushak also volunteered at the concession.
Pushak passed away on June 18.
The Hough Memorial Cancer Society has been fundraising since 1972 to purchase the latest equopment for upgrades to the Cariboo Memorial Hospital.
Last September, during the Stampede Association’s Wildfire fundraiser, the Wildfire T-shirt founders were on site and donated a significant portion of their sales back to the cause.
In addition to the money contributed by the Stampede Association fundraisers and ticket sales, the B.C. Wildfire T-shirts fundraiser donated $1,000 to the Tough Enough to Wear Pink fund.