By Glynis M. Belec –
Living in a small town and being diagnosed with a not so common form of gynecological cancer could have been a cause for despair, but as I look back now, I realize how God turned my anguish into action.
Zeal for Teal, a scrapbooking and crafting fundraising event, was born out of my daughter, Amanda’s response to my diagnosis. Distraught and feeling helpless, she got on the computer, researched and soon discovered a national organization, Ovarian Cancer Canada (OCC) http://www.ovariancanada.org. She signed us both up for the 2008 Ovarian Cancer Canada Winner’s Walk of Hope and before I knew it, plans were being made for our first Zeal for Teal.
Because Amanda was an avid scrap-booker, she had come up with the idea of inviting women to spend an entire day together relaxing and being creative for the cause. We spoke about it at length – a healthy distraction for me as I was facing the rigours of chemotherapy at the time. We got to work and before we knew it, we were celebrating our first Zeal for Teal in the spring of 2009.
Word spread about the themed event, the incredible food, fellowship and focus, and each successive year the number of participants increased. Initially, Zeal for Teal ‘Pyjama Day’ was held at the Drayton Reformed Church, but after that first year, the venue shifted to the local arena to accommodate more women.
On April 28, 2012, we celebrated our 4th Zeal for Teal Scrapbooking event and we welcomed over 100 women to the Drayton Arena.
The theme for the day was the Wild West and those who attended were not disappointed with the attention to detail. Straw bales, western decor and a superb backdrop lent atmosphere to the event, not to mention games and challenges for everyone. By the end of the day we were amazed to learn that we had raised $4000 for the 2012 Walk of Hope. That far exceeded our expectations, but God has a way of doing that and I am content to be grateful and pray that these funds can help even one woman get diagnosed in the early stages of ovarian cancer. The cure rate when caught early is almost 90%. That encourages me.
When Amanda and I first started Zeal for Teal we wanted women to experience a day where they could kick back and have a great time but at the same time it was imperative to us that we seized the opportunity to help raise awareness and inform participants and others – especially susceptible women – about the signs and symptoms and the importance of detecting ovarian cancer in the early stages. We always include the question on the evaluation sheets: “What did you learn today about ovarian cancer?”
A good friend of mine and veteran Zeal for Teal participant, Dana Maher Downey, has received a gift and special recognition three years in a row for inviting the most number of people to join her at Zeal for Teal 2012.
“ love the theme filled day as it lets us be silly and carefree,” says Downey, “…a change from our everyday lives.”
But Downey is also quick to say that the best part about Zeal for Teal is the reason over 100 women gather on this day.
“Even though we all spend our day laughing, scrap booking, eating great food, playing games and more, I know that we are helping so many women in their fight against this disease that whispers.”
That just about sums up why plans and preparations are already underway for Zeal for Teal 2013! http://zealforteal.blogspot.ca/
Feature photo: Zeal for Teal Committee Members were overjoyed to learn they had raised $4000 for the Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope 2012. Left to Right: Amanda Newton, Glynis Belec, Sue Bauman, Amanda Hauser, Rosemary Latham, Amber Tuck and Darlene Hauser. (Photo credit: Jessika Sutton – Dream Photography)
Article photos: (L-R) Glynis Belec, chairperson, thanks Jessika Sutton for her assistance at Zeal for Teal 2012.
New Zeal for Teal banner with a slogan created by Dana Downey, long-time participant of Zeal for Teal. Downey created it as a way to give back and to remind everyone about why this annual event is in existence. (Photo credit: Amanda Newton – T & J Studios).