For the little pink ribbon 

Third annual Mister Whistler competition to benefit breast cancer

What: Mister Whistler Competition

When: Thursday, Aug. 28, 9 p.m.

Where: Moe Joe’s

Admission: $15

In two weeks, Paula Del Bosco plans to walk 60 kilometres for cause that’s near and dear to her heart — breast cancer.

This is the third year that Del Bosco has participated in the annual Weekend to End Breast Cancer, held Friday, Sept. 5 through Sunday, Sept. 7, which supports cancer research through the B.C. Cancer Foundation. Before the event was launched five years ago, the B.C. Cancer Foundation provided up to $200,000 annually for breast cancer research in the province. Since the walk began there has been an investment of over $13 million in breast cancer research and support.

In previous years, the 15-year Whistler resident has raised up to $3,700 for the cause. This year, Del Bosco is setting her sights higher: she wants to raise $4,000.

“The first time I walked, my husband’s mother passed away of breast cancer, and a couple of my friends had been diagnosed with breast cancer,” Del Bosco explained. “I’m 40, so I’m starting to get into that age group where, unfortunately, things like that are starting to crop up.”

Her first experience participating in the Weekend to End Breast Cancer was so inspiring, that she decided she wanted to do more.

“I was so inspired by it, I just remember walking down… the main waterfront (in Vancouver) and there was this sweet little lady — I’ll never forget this — and she was an older woman, but she had her head wrapped in a bandanna, because she probably lost all her hair,” Del Bosco recalled tearfully. “She was leaning on her husband because she was exhausted, she’d been sitting there all day holding up a sign that said, ‘Thank you for doing for me what I can’t do for myself.’”

But Del Bosco is falling short of her annual goal — so far she’s raised about $2,500. So, she decided it was time to reach out to the community and hold a fundraiser.

This year, Del Bosco is organizing a fundraiser with the help of another Whistler resident, Valerie Sicotte, who has an even closer connection with the cause — she is a survivor of thyroid cancer.

Diagnosed almost four years ago, Sicotte battled her cancer and emerged victorious. Now, both women want to help others fight the disease, and so they decided to team up for the annual walk. They hope that the event will not only help raise funds for the cause, but also awareness of how cancer touches the lives of people, both young and old, and help empower people to take action and join the fight.

Originally, they were having trouble finding a venue for their fundraiser, but as soon as they contacted the management at Moe Joe’s, the problem was solved.

Though this is the first year they’ve partnered with Moe Joe’s to fundraise, it’s actually the third year of the Mister Whistler competition.

“The last few times, they’d done it just for themselves, and they said it was always a packed, packed night,” Del Bosco said. She added that she thinks it was particularly generous of management to offer that night as the fundraising effort, knowing that it’s always busy.

About five to 10 men register to compete each year, competing in categories of formal wear, talent, and a skill-testing question in a swimsuit, with the audience selecting their favourite. The winner walks away $1,000 and the coveted Mister Whistler belt.

A $15 ticket will get you a night of sick beats, provided by DJ Rosco, a chance to win raffle prizes, 50/50 draw, lots of eye candy, and the satisfaction of knowing you’re giving back, because aside from the $1,000 that will go to the lucky lad who is dubbed Mister Whistler, the rest of the proceeds will go towards Del Bosco and Sicotte’s fundraising.

Del Bosco points out that a lot of local businesses have stepped up and donated prizes for the raffle, and she anticipates that she and Sicotte will meet or beat their fundraising goal, thanks to support from the community.

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