Matilda Atleo raises funds to host Cops for Cancer barbecue.
Photo by Shayne Morrow
Staff at the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council office had the chance to pick up some tasty baked goods on Thursday, and to help raise money for an upcoming Canadian Cancer Society/Cops for Cancer fundraising event.
NTC Health Promotion Worker Matilda Atleo set up the table, which featured a wide variety of pastries, tarts and squares (the cheesecake was staying cool in the fridge nearby).
“The majority of the items were donated by the [NTC] Nurses, and NTC staff also contributed,” Atleo told Ha-Shilth-Sa. “I was up at 5 o’clock this morning baking my blueberry muffins.”
Atleo said the proceeds would go towards a traditional salmon barbecue to be hosted by Tseshaht First Nation at Maht Mahs Gym on Sept. 30.
“I put it to Tseshaht Nation to host this event because I have seen such an increase in the occurrence of cancer in First Nations communities,” she said. “I want our people to realize how much the Canadian Cancer Society does for these individuals who are struggling with cancer – just to get the awareness out there that they [the cancer society] do a lot.”
Cops for Cancer/Tour de Rock is one of the premier events for the society. Every year, a team of RCMP and city police officers, along with guest riders, tackles a grueling road course across Vancouver Island, making stops at events along the way. No doubt a traditional salmon barbecue will be a welcome break for cyclists slugging over the Hump (the summit on Highway 4 at Port Alberni) and out to the West Coast and back.
“I’ve been fundraising for the past few weeks, in memory of my late sister-in-law Eileen Haggard. She passed away from cancer three years ago,” Atleo said.
Atleo acknowledged there was a bit of a contradiction in selling sweet baked goods to promote health, but she said there is a distinction between home-baked treats to the sort of manufactured foods that have become so prevalent in daily life.
“So much of what we buy is full of colorings and additives that are linked to cancer,” she said, adding that many of the base ingredients are made from genetically-modified plants that may harbor pesticide residue. “People have to start looking at the labels.”
Atleo said she was horrified to pick up a package of crackers that were being served to children at an event, only to discover that they were manufactured in China.
“The corporations know the stuff they are putting in their products is harmful. And they don’t care.”
Atleo said a working group has been put together to organize the Sept. 30 feast at Maht Mahs.
“We also have a couple of other events planned,” she said.
There will be an Arts and Crafts Sale at Maht Mahs from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 6. There will also be a Loonie-Twoonie and a Hamburger/Hotdog Sale.
There will be a second Arts and Crafts Sale on Aug. 20 at the Tseshaht Market, featuring fried bread and bannock.