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Thursday, April 18, 2024
A carol to fight cancer

Carolling For Cancer enters its fifth annual holiday tradition with vocal quartets carolling door-to-door for donations to the Rankin Cancer Run over the three nights leading up to Christmas.

Expect classics like, Joy to the World and We Wish You a Merry Christmas this Friday, Dec. 21, Saturday, Dec. 22 and Sunday Dec. 23.

“When we knock on the doors, we get a lot of people who are honestly crying and so happy,” said Scott Robinson, the campaign’s founder, who started the initiative with three friends back in 2014.

“We’ll knock on Christmas parties and then the people have this really cool experience with carollers at their front door.”

When the annual campaign first started, Robinson was running a fundraising initiative for the Canadian Cancer Society called Kayak for the Cure Niagara, in which Robinson kayaked across Lake Ontario, from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Toronto.

“The goal was $10,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society, and so we went carolling as part of that to raise money for that goal,” said Robinson, in which he and his lone quartet raised more than $1,200 over two nights of carolling.

“We were pretty amazed by – first of all – how magical the experience was, how happy we made people feel when we knocked on doors.”

Robinson said the feedback was so “magical” that some residents called the singing a “Christmas miracle,” motivating him to expand the tradition the following year with more volunteers.

“The next year we thought, ‘Wow, that was so much fun last year for the four of us,’ and we raised so much money, and people were so happy, we really felt like we were doing a good thing just to create a Christmas memory for people,” he said.

“It was good for us, it was good for people’s memories, and we raised a lot of good money too.”

Since the project started, the campaign has raised over $14,000 with more than 50 volunteers, 28 who sang last year.

“The first year we did it for the Canadian Cancer Society, but then we moved it to the Rankin Cancer Run so that all the money stays within a Niagara,” said Robinson.

“With all the money raised, 100 per cent of donations go directly to the Rankin Cancer Run, which then goes directly to Niagara patient care and Niagara patient research.”

The groups of carollers are split up into vocal quartets made up of two men and two women ranging from 18 to 24 years of age. Many are Brock University students as well as graduates of Laura Secord Secondary School in St. Catharines.

“Everybody forms their own groups of friends, and then they split up and go to different neighborhoods,” said Robinson.

“Every year we’ve done mainly Niagara-on-the-Lake and St. Catharines, and a little bit of Niagara Falls. So that’ll be the plan again.”

Robinson is excited to share the “Christmas magic” with more people in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

“A lot of us ‘tout’ it now as one of our favourite few nights of the year.”

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