RCMP fundraiser brings hope and fun to sick kids
Ben Lempher/for metro edmonton
What could have been a dark day for some yesterday was brightened by the red serge of the RCMP plus some high-tech toys and eager dogs that put smiles on the faces of sick but tough Alberta children.
Bomb-sniffing dog Badge showed his stuff, fending off the scents of scores of adults, children and pizzas at the fourth annual RCMP Kids with Cancer fundraiser to easily find some real C-4 explosive planted for the demonstration.
It was explained that trainers don’t want to confuse the dog by using dummy explosives so they always use the real thing.
Event founder Const. Lisa Downie brought a bright smile and a shiny, freshly shaved head to the festivities. She explained her participation was brought about by a too-close acquaintance with cancer.
Downie’s daughter was stricken with the disease in September 2004. Yesterday, seven-year-old Raelyn Downie, her cancer now in remission, sat with dozens of other kids, sworn in as "RCMP officers for a day" at K-Division headquarters on Kingsway.
On hand was RCMP Assistant Commissioner Bill Smith, who proudly announced that Mounties’ Kids with Cancer has raised more than $250,000 in the past and $34,000 and climbing yesterday.
"I am amazed by the strength and courage that each one of these kids shows," Smith told the children, parents and volunteers on hand.
Leading the proceedings was Beau Weatherbie, 11, who has battled acute lymphoblastic leukemia for six years. Despite a looming April surgical date for a bone marrow transplant Beau was all smiles as he formally opened the day’s fun, games and proceedings.