Clean out your closet for cancer

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Courtney Seguin isn’t your typical sedentary Canadian. She’s a vibrant, active 31-year-old Edmontonian. Her life changed in March 2011, however, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Many of us think about the psychological and physiological impact of cancer. But most people don’t consider the financial impact of a cancer diagnosis. So Courtney’s friends have banded together to host the first fundraiser in what will hopefully become an annual event called Courtney’s Closet.

Sylvia Forster, one of the event organizers and Courtney’s close friend explains.

“Courtney is the fashionista in our group. She has the best style, and fashion’s always been her thing. We wanted to host an event that reflected her personality, and we didn’t want it to come across as a charity — because she’s not a charity case. This is to support someone who needs a little bit of help.”

Clothing and fashion donations will be on sale on Saturday to try and raise funds to help Courtney focus on her treatments. As Sylvia explains, no one really thinks about the bills that add up when you need treatments.

“Courtney’s a single girl, and most 31-year-olds don’t have an extensive life insurance policy,” she says.

“Once the reality of the financials set in — you’re not able to work, if you’re a woman undergoing chemo, you may need to pay for fertility treatments after cancer treatments — It’s life changing and life threatening, but you don’t really think of it from a money perspective.”

This weekend at O’Byrnes, you can expect to essentially shop until you drop. Starting with a boobie-themed pancake breakfast at 8am — “anatomically correct pancakes,” as Sylvia puts it — you’ll be able to find some new clothing to fill your closet, all from donations from people close to Courtney.

There’s even something for the boys to do, if they aren’t into fashion. O’Byrnes has donated an air hockey table, and something of a tournament will be held to see who will be going home with it.

But O’Byrnes isn’t the only business getting involved.

“Famous Skate & Snowboard and Gorgeous Girls in St. Albert, and Eddies Hang Up & Display were the peeps who really helped us out,” Sylvia says. Some provided clothing donations, and even gift certificates to support Courtney’s Closet.

And while the organizers don’t have a specific financial goal in mind, Sylvia says she’s amazed by how supportive the community is.

“We’ve really kept the promotions of the event within our own social networks. We’re relying on our friends to spread it. We felt that was a little more appropriate. So far we’ve gotten a really great response. Edmonton, and the Whyte Ave community specifically is amazing and overwhelmingly supportive.”

The hope after this first event is to do an annual event, with the support of the Alberta Cancer Foundation and the Cross Cancer Institute.

“We’ve actually talked to both organizations, and we’re going to make Courtney’s Closet an annual event where people can apply to the Cross Cancer with a short essay submission explaining their situation and financial need. Then, every year when we hold the event we would pick one person from those submissions and the money raised goes to supporting them.

Courtney’s Closet takes place this Saturday, June 18th at O’Byrne’s Irish Pub from 8am to 6pm. Details are on the Facebook event page.

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