It has been nine years since Kay Sheppard of Harbour Grace lost her courageous battle with breast cancer.
Kay was the owner of Kay’s Restaurant in the town until 2002, when sister-in-law Kathy Tetford took over. It was her health that led her to step aside.
In February of 2005, Kay passed away.
Two months after her death, friends and family held an event in her honour — Kay’s Day, a fundraiser for the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Foundation.
Tetford has been a driving force behind the event since it began, and continues to help organize it each year. Dozens of volunteers and friends of the event continue to take part, with numbers growing every year.
The 10th Kay’s Day took place April 25 and 26.
“They set a goal of $10,000 this year,” Kay’s brother-in-law, George Sheppard, told The Compass May 1.
After the event was done, the total was announced at the Masonic Lodge in Habour Grace. The event raised a grand total of $14,280. Although the total was surprising, it was an individual donation that garnered tears from Tetford and others in attendance.
The staff at Kay’s, along with volunteers from the community, held fundraisers inside the restaurant throughout the year, raising some $6,200. One of the most successful fundraisers was the sale of crocheted dishcloth that collected $1,500. About 20 women from the community volunteered their time to crochet the dishcloths, Sheppard said.
Although Tetford runs the restaurant, the staff kept the total a secret until the big reveal.
The weekend event
The event kicked off with, “Hymns of hope.” Each year, those fighting cancer, those who have beaten it and those who are mourning a loss are invited to a church service. This year it was at Coughlan United Church on Water Street, but it alternates parishes.
During the opening event, it was revealed a longtime friend of Sheppard and Tetford and volunteer with Kay’s Day who had been fighting her own cancer battle for years, was finally cancer-free. Dawn Haire-Butt’s news set the tone for the whole weekend, Sheppard explained.
“This put everyone in great spirits,” he continued.
On Saturday at the Masonic Lodge, the very first goods bingo was held. The bingo was followed by local entertainment, and the staple meal, fish and brewis. A dance concluded the event at 10 p.m. It was the most successful event to date, Sheppard confirmed.
A thoughtful gift
The first Kay’s Day hosted the fish and brewis supper at Kay’s with local entertainment. Now it has grown to the weekend-long event.
On April 30, a group of volunteers went to St. John’s to deliver the funds raised during the event to the annual 590 VOCM radio-thon for the foundation. During the radio-thon, a gift was given to the group, which included Tetford and Sheppard.
A collage of previous Kay’s Day events was presented by members of the Cancer Care Foundation to commemorate the groups 10th year donating. Sheppard explained the foundation is a great organization, and all funds stay within the province.
“It is great when you see the effects (of the fundraising), when someone actually beats the disease,” Sheppard explained.