It was 12 years ago when Shelley Gregg took a look at her life. She had a loving husband, two teenage sons and a thriving family plumbing and heating business. Life was good. It was then that Shelley and her sister-in-law Kim, from Dutch Growers, pulled together a group of close family and friends. They agreed, it’s time to give back.
“Everything was fabulous; why not do something for the cancer centre that saved my life and has helped so many others that I’ve loved,” says Shelley.
In 1978, Shelley received a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The high school senior had surgery and underwent radiation and chemotherapy. All of her treatments took place at the Saskatoon Cancer Centre.
Happy and healthy, Shelley and her friends wanted to create a fundraising event that was unique, fun and included chocolate! She says initially the fundraiser could have been for anything. However, because of her own experience and that of her committee, raising money for the Saskatoon Cancer Centre only made sense. With that, Choc’laCure was born. What started out as a fashion show with signature chocolate desserts has grown into so much more. Today, Choc’laCure is a year-long fundraising campaign that includes two fashion shows, along with many other additional community events contributing money they raise and culminates with a gala held at Dutch Growers in Saskatoon, every November.
The gala, which is an annual sellout, is a special night on the Saskatoon social calendar. “The fact that it takes place in a working greenhouse is part of the mystique.” The greenhouse undergoes a jaw-dropping transformation, complete with chandeliers, silk napkins and elegant lighting. The setting serves as the backdrop for the sweet star of the night, the special desserts. Throughout the event’s history, that also features a gourmet meal, auctions, and entertainment, the chocolate desserts, which are donated by local chefs and restaurants, have served as show pieces of the evening. According to Shelley when the call for desserts goes out, they are not turned down.
“In fact, some of them (desserts) are auctioned off as is, because they are simply a work of art,” she says.
One of the highlights of the evening that truly brings home the reason everyone is in attendance, is the story from a cancer survivor. Their remarks serve as a reminder to everyone why the dollars raised are so very important.
Choc’laCure’s reputation has grown over the past twelve years and in fact, grown beyond Saskatoon. Smaller communities now hold events from bake sales to sporting events and donate those funds to Choc’laCure. “Smaller events like that know when they combine their money with our campaign, it will have a bigger impact.”
And speaking of impact, the 2018 campaign raised more than $245,000 to go towards purchasing a CT Simulator for the Saskatoon Cancer Centre as part of the bigger CT Simulator Campaign for the province.
Since it began in 2007, Choc’laCure has raised over $2.65 million for equipment at the Saskatoon Cancer Centre.
“I don’t think there is a cause out there that touches people as much as cancer does,”says Shelley.
For more information on Choc’laCure please visit: www.choclacure.com.