Tag Archive | cancer

Quick Trip Down Memory Lane

I love Donalda! It was one of the highlights of our tour. The layout of the town. The badlands. The great horse camping facility. The *fab* food done by the caterer — and the way it was done, right out there on Main Street.

And Bruce Gartside. Can’t ever forget Bruce. He was the driving force behind our visit there.

This is the view when you slip out of town on your horse.

donalda-al-2016-wpy

Did I mention that we loved the people of Donalda?donalda-hand-prints

This is their phenomenal lantern. You should see it lit up at night. It’s incredibly beautiful.donalda-lantern

Oh, yes! There were a few of us in Donalda that day!donalda-lots-of-horses

Seeing the riders coming down Main Street was a real treat! I wish every day could have had this many riders! We’d be over the million dollar mark in our fundraising if we had.donalda-riding-main-street

One last, parting shot of the badlands. Riders loved this ride.donalds-badlands-1

What’s CRINA? How does it fit into our big pink picture?

CRINA is an acronym for “Cancer Research Institute of Northern Alberta”.  This is an interesting group.  It isn’t “a group of researchers peering through microscopes at The Cross”.  Rather, it is “a group of researchers from all across the U of A campus taking a hard look at all aspects of cancer”. It’s researchers in oncology, yes, but also in agriculture and mathmatics and pharmacy and phys ed.  Why agriculture?  Because of nutrition’s effect on how cancer cells will respond to a particular treatment.  Why mathmatics?  Because of the mathmatical and statistical modeling needed to understand cancer data.  Pharmacy is a no brainer … but phys ed?  Physical condition can make a big difference in so many ways … in ways that the CRINA phys ed cancer researchers are still discovering. I’m sure I’m missing a number of departments that are involved, but you get the picture.

They are attacking cancer from all angles! Whenever someone has a “light bulb moment”, off they go investigating. Sometimes it pays off in spades (like BRCA 1 and 2).  Sometimes it doesn’t.  But even a “doesn’t” is a win because it’s an avenue that can then be ignored.

They say it takes from $20,000 to $50,000 to investigate a “light bulb”.  If the light bulb is worth investigating further, it’s half a million bucks to go into pre-clinical trials.  If the pre-clinical trials are fruitful, we’re talking a million dollars (or more) to do human trials!

And there’s the rub.  It’s not all that difficult for researchers to find the funding needed for those big events that make headlines … but those don’t happen until a whole bunch of little “light bulb moments” have been investigated, and it’s hard to find funding for those.  The problem is: they’re not sexy.  But oh, are they critical!  Without them there would be no big events.

So that’s where we come in.  Our money will be used to fund as many CRINA light bulb moments as possible.

Think of it as funding Wayne Gretzky for his first pair of hockey skates … or Leonard Cohen for his first guitar.  🙂

Dateline: August 26th – Mayerthorpe

I worked for a long, long time to try to bring Mayerthorpe on board for Pinkest Little Town in the West, but it was not to be.  In fact, I had given up completely when somehow I got the name and phone number for the most marvelous Mayerthorpian!

His name is Jurgen Preugschas and he really is marvelous.  (Not surprisingly, Jurgen has a marvelous wife too.  Her name is Anna.) The last name is Lithuanian that was Germanized many long years ago, and now the Preugschases are Canadian.  Lucky us. Juergen and Anna run 17 quarters and raise thousands of pigs every year.  It’s quite the operation. (Who says immigration’s a bad thing? *grin*)

In a matter of a week, Jurgen accomplished more than I’d been able to do in months.  (In my defence, it’s easier to get things done when you’re a productive and valued member of the town’s society — but still, it was impressive to see what Jurgen could accomplish.)

Jurgen got us permission to stay at the Mayerthorpe Ag Grounds.  The Ag Society provided us with much needed hay as well.  Jurgen got hamburgers, buns, soft drinks and condiments donated by the local businesses and away he went, barbecueing up a storm from before noon ’til after 2:00.  I got CFCW on location for him and he sold quite a few hamburgers, though I’ll not know the total until sometime in September.

Jurgen and Anna had invited our riders to join them for their weekly trail ride.  It seems that for the last 25 years, every Wednesday all summer long, they have hosted a ride night.  Everybody who wants to join them just shows up with their horse and something to add to the potluck they share after the ride.  Heck, if you want to go and you don’t have a horse, Jurgen and Anna have 11 well broke saddle horses from which you can choose to borrow for the night!  (These are amazing people.)

So off our people went … including my stepson, Kevin, who has no history with horses.  When I said, in an alarmed voice, “My husband will kill me if you break Kevin!” Jurgen assured  me that he had just the right horse for him, and he did.  Kevin went for his first trail ride and came back interested in learning more about horses. (Yay!)

After the ride, we all sat around the bonfire in Jurgen and Anna’s backyard.  They have fire torches that they light, picnic tables that wind up with a large array of goodies spread over them, and everybody sitting around the campfire enjoying the post ride cameraderie.

Jurgen and Anna, you are special people and we admire you greatly.  Thank you so very much for making our stay in Mayerthorpe memorable.