Old-time haying fundraiser

Every August long weekend an event occurs in Mallaig area that summons back to a time of subsistence living and rustic sensibility, drawing forth methods of farming and daily life that knew no influence from modern technological devices of industry or interaction.

Haying in the 30’s combines both history and community fellowship each year, providing a showcase of pastoral farming life while inspiring goodwill by financially assisting cancer victims on a donation-only basis.

Cindy Jackson of Castor can attest to the assistance the event provides for cancer patients. “I was diagnosed with breast cancer back in May of this year,” Jackson said, noting that ill-health left her unable to work.

Jackson found out about the fund through a relative and decided to apply. She said the process of application was relatively straightforward and easy to navigate.

“All you have to do is go into their website and get the application form, and you also need a doctors note along with the application,” Jackson says.

Jackson said she received $2000 of donation-based funds this year, which has helped her immensely with treatment and associated costs. “Of course I’m not working right now so every little bit helps,” she said.

The Haying in the 30’s Cancer Support Society has been operative since 1999, assisting over 3500 individuals diagnosed with cancer within and outside of the Mallaig area. The event, held annually on the August long weekend, offers food, camping and admission free of charge for people in attendance. All expenses for the two-day event are funded by sponsors and volunteers alone.

Lorne Buryn, member of the Haying in the 30’s Executive Committee, acknowledges the costs incurred through the process of treatment can be increasingly high.  “We raise funds for people that need money for treatment, for travel, meals, hotel expenses,” he says, “if they have to go travel to Calgary or Edmonton for treatment.”

Buryn says the foundations of the event are based on volunteers – over 200 of them – and donations from attendees and vendors alike.

“Everything is free,” Buryn says, “We have free food, free camping, free demonstrations… the only thing we ask for people to do is make a donation at the booth, which helps all the other people who have cancer and need the extra funds.”

The idea for Haying in the Thirties was inspired by founder Edgar Corbiere, who’s son had a unique strain of cancer that had to be treated in Vancouver. The community of Mallaig came together to donate money to him so he could weather the costs of travel and related expenses.

“Then one day [Edgar Corbiere] was driving along and there was a bunch of guys travelling with horses and buggies and wagons,” says Buryn, “and he said ‘You know what we should do, we should start something where we can raise some funds and help people [who have cancer]’.”

So the first year they began with the inaugural event, raising $3500.

“This past August long weekend,” says Buryn, “we took in over $215,000 in donations.”

Buryn says the hope is to expand in their location and activities as the event moves forward, and that more donations will keep coming in throughout the year and during the weekend itself to help more people in need.

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