Curl for Cancer loses original participant - Feb. 20, 2013
Tony Huntjens participates in Curl for Cancer every year. This weekend, he will do so again, but without one of his longtime teammates this year, who recently passed after a personal battle with cancer.
Throughout the 18 years of the Curl for Cancer event at the St. Stephen Curling Club there have been several constant factors. One is the “Old Bucks,” one of the original teams at the event. This year, the Old Bucks will have extra reason to hurry hard, as one of their members passed away after his own battle with cancer.
The annual event, happening this weekend to raise funds for Canadian Cancer Society for research and programs used in treatment, has been graced by Jim Shaw’s presence every year. Shaw was one of the original members on the team started by Don Wilson, after Wilson’s own personal battle with cancer.
Teammate Tony Huntjens reflected on Shaw’s passing.
“I don’t know if the end result was from cancer, by the time he passed away from cancer he was clear of his treatments, but the treatments took their toll on him and he eventually passed. Yeah, that’s always the hard thing about it, you never know what’s going to happen to someone.” Shaw died just a few weeks ago, and the team is now working to fill his slot on the ice, which Huntjens said is a small inconvenience in comparison to the loss of his teammate. Without Shaw, the Old Bucks team may have been scrapped long ago.
“He wanted to keep this team going, so after Don passed, Jim Shaw took over as the person to organize our team. I was the skip and he was the mate and Don’s boys also curl for us.”
The event typically raises $15-$16,000, and Shaw’s efforts were no small part of that success. With him gone, regulars at the event will doubtless understand the significance of this year’s event.
“There will probably be a lot more emotion involved to curl in Jim’s honour, you might say, at this event. I’m trying to organize a banquet for Curl for Cancer at the end of May in honour of Jim Shaw. These things take their effect, but hopefully we’ll raise some money with the event we put on in honour of Jim Shaw.”
At the end of the event, there will be a team that ends as the top overall curlers. Regardless, many of the awards given out at the conclusion focus on the top fundraisers, not the most successful curlers. The curling starts Friday and wraps up by Saturday at 5 p.m., when a gathering is held in the lounge to honour the fundraisers and to hear from a guest speaker. This year the speaker will be Kathy Walker, a local nurse and cancer survivor. Huntjens said that speaker is one of the best parts of the event.
“You learn about a lot about cancer through that. Each person has their own experience with cancer and when they talk about it openly, they let you know what it’s like to be affected with cancer,” Huntjens said. “It makes you realize how lucky you are if you’re not.”
Although the event never has problems finding 16 teams to participate and fills up quickly, there is never a full quota of funds raised. Those who wish to make a donation to the Curl for Cancer event to support the Canadian Cancer Society can call Leah Nixon at 466-7591.