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WORLD PEACE: Jennifer Packet was crowned this year’s Miss Chinese Vancouver 2019. The 22-year-old UBC graduate recently bested nine other talented contestants to earn the title, punching her ticket to the Miss Chinese International Pageant to compete against delegates from all over the world. A pageant with a purpose, B.C. Cancer was this year’s beneficiary of the beauty contest which celebrated its 25th anniversary.
Prior to the pageant’s live broadcast, gala chairs Glynnis Chan, May Ho and Shella Keung steered the gala dinner helping raise $460,000 for B.C. Cancer and the purchase of leading state-of-the-art radiation equipment. With some 700 audience members in the room, the crowd was moved when B.C. Cancer patient and Vancouver resident Carmen Hou took the stage to share her personal cancer journey. Facing cancer while nursing a newborn, the then 32-year-old was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer.
Hou began chemotherapy treatment and went on to have a mastectomy of her left breast. Surgeons also removed 20 lymph nodes from her under arm, ten of which were cancerous. She has followed up with two types of radiation and began a drug trial this winter. While the cancer isn’t growing, she’s also not in remission.
“Without the treatment and care I’ve received at B.C. Cancer, which donors make possible, I would not be standing here before you,” said Hou, now 35.
“I have been gifted more time with my family because of the life-saving treatments I have received at B.C. Cancer, including precision radiation.”
Hou’s moving story compelled the well-heeled crowd in attendance to support the cause. A special Dom Pérignon dinner featuring vintage bottles from the iconic champagne house coupled with a dinner curated by Vancouver firefighter and celebrity chef Michael Varga sold for $25,000, sparkplugging the five-lot live auction. The proceeding call for cash saw Lions Clubs International lead the way with a generous $100,000 match donation.
“We are grateful to everyone who generously donated to help bring innovative radiation equipment to B.C. Cancer, giving greater hope to the more than 80,000 British Columbians facing cancer,” said Sarah Roth, president and CEO, B.C. Cancer Foundation.
“This state-of-the-art equipment will have a significantly positive effect for patients, particularly beneficial for pediatric and breast cancer patients, decreasing treatment setup time, reducing risk of missing the target and radiation of healthy tissue.”
PITCH PERFECT: Described as B.C.’s largest carolling competition, 15 teams of competitive carollers battled it out for singing supremacy at Yule Duel.
Inspired by Seattle’s Figgy Pudding singing contest, the 5th staging saw the family-friendly outdoor event move from its original Gastown digs to the roomier Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza. Presented by the Bloom Group and the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, hundreds of choral enthusiasts packed the public square to cheer on their favourite group at the annual sing-off, while supporting May’s Place.
Choirs fundraised to punch their ticket to the best in show, while attendees purchased a ballot for $5 to vote for their favourite carollers. Before the winners were announced, a reported $60,000 was collected for Western Canada’s first free standing hospice. The six-bed hospice providing compassionate end of life care for people living with mental health issues and addictions is located on Powell Street in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
In addition to the people’s choice, a panel of judges including Elektra Women’s Chorus artistic Director Morna Edmundson, Miss 604 social media maven Rebecca Bollwitt and former Vancouver city councillor Heather Deal selected winners of the most creative and best vocal carolling group. St. George’s Junior School Choir won the People’s Choice Award. The group also took home Best Youth Choir honours. The Hot Toddies picked up Best Vocal Performance while Notre Dame Platinum Girls performance was declared the Most Creative.
“Thanks to all our sponsors and especially the choirs and their supporters for testing their vocal talents in support of May’s Place Hospice,” said Lesley Anderson, Yule Duel Project Manager. “Yule Duel is a wonderful event welcoming people of all abilities to come out to sing, listen and enjoy the community celebration of music.”
Making spirits bright, from UBC, back row: Mika Han, Magdalen Hamilton and Davis Song; front row: Stephen Juwono, Jessie Lam and Charlotte Choi were among 15 carolling groups that participated in the holiday sing-off at the Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza. Photo: Fred Lee.
Lattimer Gallery Bentwood Box Auction & Reception
BOXING SALE: Peter Lattimer, owner of the Lattimer Gallery, hosted his annual Charity Bentwood Box Auction & Reception at the Museum of Vancouver. Thirteen award-winning and up-and-coming Indigenous artists participated in the charity event transforming blank cedar bentwood boxes into beautiful works of art.
For the past dozen years Lattimer has organized the Bentwood Box sale to help support the Urban Native Youth Association, a Vancouver organization providing prevention focused programs and services to Native youth since 1988.
Corrine Hunt, designer of the Vancouver Olympic medals in 2010, celebrated mural artist KC Hall, and Michelle Stoney, recipient of the 2019 B.C. Achievement Award in First Nations Art, were among this year’s talented artists who donated their time and talent creating the coveted boxes for auction. Stoney’s Octopus and Raven creation garnered the evening’s top bid, contributing to a reported $83,000 haul for UNYA. Since the event’s creation, more than $550,000 has been raised.