5 BRIGHT Hamilton ideas

This article was originally published in CBC Hamilton, Sept. 8, 2012

Many people will be running or walking in Saturday’s BRIGHT Run to raise funds for breast cancer care and research.

But BRIGHT is more than just an annual fundraising event. It has found its niche within the Hamilton community in five ways:

Betty, the mascot greets runners

You will see more than people. BRIGHT Betty, the official mascot of BRIGHT, will be making an appearance to cheer on participants. This mascot, taking the shape of a light bulb, stands at least six feet and won’t be missed in the crowd.

Betty is designed by Dr. Jennifer Ramsay, a pathologist at the Juravinski Hospital Cancer Centre. She was one of the first to try on the costume.

“Jennifer couldn’t wait to get into that costume,” exclaimed Nancy McMillan, co-chair of the BRIGHT executive committee.

Ramsay is not the only one, six people have volunteered to pose as Betty on Saturday, said McMillan.

Bling for a good cause

You can take Betty home with you with $30 BRIGHT Betty zipper pull charms, hand-designed by Monica Graves of Burlington-based glamjulz.

Every dollar spent on these limited edition charms goes back to the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre to fund breast cancer research initiatives.

Doctors and researchers take off their lab coats to volunteer

There are more than 150 volunteers for BRIGHT working to make BRIGHT a success every year. They stand on the frontline, greeting participants and cheering on the run.

The planning team behind BRIGHT, however, is team of 11 people, including doctors, researchers and nurses. They step out of their medical roles to organize the event during their free time.

“They have all been touched by people who had cancer and want to do something to help fight the disease,” explained Mark Levine, oncology professor at McMaster and member of BRIGHT exec committee.

Survivors get to be the face for BRIGHT

This year, the committee launched the BRIGHT Face contest. The winner will have his/her face featured on BRIGHT postcards.

It was a simple process: submit a photo and a short paragraph explaining why you should be the first BRIGHT Face.

2012 winner Donna Stampone will be on the spotlight, becoming the face for BRIGHT.

But McMillan thinks this contest does more than increase visibility for BRIGHT.

“We’re soliciting input from the community. Giving them an opportunity to identify with the terrific energy from the community,” explained McMillan.

An incentive for raising funds

BRIGHT wants its participants to feel acknowledged for their contributions and fundraising initiatives.

So this year, they launched an incentive program for kids, adults, and teams who have gone the “extra mile” in raising money for the event.

Kids 16 or younger could have their registration fee waived for raising $25, or benefit from free registration, a $100 gift card and a BRIGHT Run cap if they could raise $1,000.

Alternatively, they could create a team and get rewarded with BRIGHT jackets and caps for raising $25,000.

Bev Pond feels the need to give back to the fundraisers who have gone above and beyond.

“It’s just a little something. To spark people to donate more,” said Pond, who volunteers outside her job as the Ethics & Regulatory Affairs officer for the Ontario Clinical Oncology Group.

Head over to the Dundas Valley Conservation Area on Saturday morning BRIGHT runners and walkers in action.