Nite of Hope co-chairs Lori Ishikawa, Debi Rumley and Tammy Ritchie.

A Community Full of Hope

It is estimated an average of 100 Canadian women will die of breast cancer each week.

For White Rock’s Debi Rumley, that is 100 women too many.

As a nine-year breast cancer survivor, Rumley knows first-hand the strain a diagnosis can cause one’s self, family and friends.

She also knows it was through meticulous screening and early detection that she was able to fight and beat the disease.

“My message has always been that mine was caught through early detection, because I was pro-active,” Rumley said. “You’re no good to your family and friends if you don’t take the time to look after your own health.”

For the sixth consecutive year, Rumley is gearing up for an evening of delicious food, entertainment and – most importantly – fundraising, when Nite of Hope returns to the Semiahmoo Peninsula April 7.

As chair of the event, along with co-chairs Lori Ishikawa and Tammy Ritchie, Rumley hopes the event is as successful as last year, which saw more than 550 guests and raised more than $200,000.

“The community has really embraced it,” she said. “It’s a fun event, but it’s also very educational. A lot of women are learning the importance of being pro-active, and it’s also raising the awareness in younger women, too.”

Since White Rock South Surrey’s Nite of Hope first took place in 2006, the event has raised more than $600,000, money that contributors can rest assured goes directly towards breast cancer research, Rumley said.

“If you came to our event one year, the next year when you come back, we can tell you the project your money has gone towards,” she said. “The money is actually out there working on research projects immediately.”

Following on the success of the 2010 theme of “Time for Hope,” this year’s gala event – held at Centennial Arena, 14600 North Bluff Rd. – is being dubbed “Image of Hope,” something Rumley said holds several different meanings.

“We have many images of hope, whether they’re on a radiograph or mammogram, or whether it’s a person who we hope for.”

Coinciding with this year’s theme, Nite of Hope’s keynote speaker is Dr. Ian Gardiner, director of the Advanced Breast Imaging Program at Canada Diagnostic Centre in Vancouver.

More than $2 million has been raised for breast cancer research since Nite of Hope first launched in Richmond 13 years ago.

And while the disease is still ranked as the most frequently diagnosed cancer among Canadian women (and the second for mortality), diagnosis and treatment has come a long way over the past 25 years.

According to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, in 1986 the breast cancer mortality rate was 32 per 100,000 – since then, the rates has dropped by more than 30 per cent, to 21.4 in 100,000 in 2010.

Still, it is estimated that one in nine Canadian women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime, which makes events like the Nite of Hope all the more important.

“It’s becoming a really wide spread disease for women – there’s no real demographic for it,” Rumley said.

Though tickets to this year’s celebrations are sold out, anybody who is interested in helping out with the event can visit

www.niteofhope.com/whiterock

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