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altitude dollars

Altitude ;98 says 'cheers' to AIDS group Altitude '98 isn't just a party, Whistler charities benefit almost as much from the fun as the participants. The "In the Flesh" fashion show, Feb. 5, was a case in point, raising $4,000 from sales of $5 martinis within half an hour. The money goes to Western Canadian Pediatric AIDS Society, a charitable group that hopes to bring a little sparkle to children in families living with AIDS. After expenses, about $3,600 of the money raised will go toward funding a summer camp, says founder and society president Maxine Druker. Druker's assistant at the evening in the Chateau Whistler Macdonald Ballroom — 12-year-old Lauren MacKay — clearly helped sales with her peppy sales pitch. "She has been involved since two years ago when we held a colouring contest and auction at the Bear Foot Bistro," Druker says. "It's sensational," Druker says of the generosity of vodka crantini drinkers. The main prize was a $3,000 ski package, including ski suits and heli skiing. The winner was a New York City man who works with an AIDS organization there. "A lot of people bought a few martinis each," Druker says, observing that $4,000 raised means 800 martinis sold. "They were putting the draw numbers (stuck under the martini glass stem) on various parts of their bodies!" As for the summer camp, "We're there," Druker says. It will be at the Coast Garibaldi Outdoor School, north of Pemberton. The camp will run for one week, maybe more, depending on the final number of children and their ages. The range in ages is expected to be five to 15, although Druker hopes to have separate camps for older and younger ages. Children will be coming from B.C., Alberta and perhaps Saskatchewan. There may be as many as 10,000 people in B.C. who are infected with HIV or AIDS. Sixty-five community groups have been founded to offer services to those affected, ranging from educational programs to hospices.