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Niagara Falls
Sunday, April 14, 2024
A Night to Fight for Alanda Ogilvie

“People’s generosity is staggering. I just get blown away more and more every day,” says Mark Neufeld with some awe.

Neufeld met Alanda Ogilvie and her then-future husband Mark while working with them for the Whirlpool Jet Boats in 2002. They’ve been friends ever since.

So when he heard Alanda had been diagnosed with colon cancer in May of this year, he and his family and friends reached out right away. The family, proud and private, graciously refused any formal help, and Neufeld and other friends held back.

But when it became known just two weeks ago that the chemotherapy treatments would be cancelled as they couldn’t treat the aggressive now Stage IV colon cancer that has spread to her liver, lungs and lymph nodes, the group of caring friends would not be stopped. “We figured it was easier to ask for forgiveness than permission,” laughs Neufeld.

“Within two days of the news we had a hall, a DJ and a band booked for a fundraiser,” he says. But now the first venue isn’t large enough to accommodate the large and ever-growing crowd expected.

Alanda Ogilvie is known to many in our community as Mrs. Ogilvie, a former elementary school teacher at Parliament Oak Public School and at Crossroads Public School, among other Niagara institutions. She is also well known as the mother of her four children, who range between the ages of seven months and six years old.

“Alanda and Mark are the nicest, most down-to-earth people, volunteer all the time, very engaged in their community,” says Neufeld. “Alanda has good days and bad days, but they haven’t ever given up hope. She has remained strong and positive throughout. The other day she was even able to get the kids to their dance class.”

Both Alanda and Mark (a firefighter with Oakville Fire Services) have had to take time off work for the treatment and management of her cancer, as well as to take care of their children — so their income is greatly diminished. New expenses are cropping up all the time, and the alternative treatments they’re hoping for are very expensive. A fundraiser was decided upon as the best way to give the Ogilvies some of what they need in this very challenging time.

The fundraising event started small but has grown dramatically, with more and more people wanting to be involved. “Mark Ogilvie’s friends from hockey just announced they will be bringing a crowd of 200 people. That’s in addition to the 200 who have committed to attending via the Facebook event, and the 250 maybes. And that’s just Facebook: there are many more people just purchasing tickets from and for friends.,” says Neufeld in amazement.

The organizers are figuring out ways to create more room for the anticipated crowds in the Merritton Community Centre on Sept. 28 (7 p.m. to 1 a.m.). They also need to be able to accommodate the overwhelming number of donations, silent auction items, and more. Neufeld lists just some of the silent auction items, some of them clearly reflecting Mark Ogilvie’s passion for hockey: “A signed Austin Matthews Maple Leafs jersey, tickets to Leafs games, a roof replaced, golf clubs, weekends at luxurious cottages — and there’s more coming in every day. Yesterday we were given a $2000 microwave convection oven and a 43” television.” There will be a raffle as well.

The event will feature entertainment from Niagara band The Steves as well as DJ Charles from Liquid Entertainment. There will be food, drinks, games, “and so much more.”

Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased at the door or by messaging the Facebook page.

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