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Dining for a cause



Two years ago, on Sept. 7, 2005, Carmen Ahiers of Pemberton lost her 10-year battle with breast cancer. One week she was walking her dogs around Pemberton Valley and the next week she was admitted to hospital. She died the day after being admitted.

Her sudden death came as a shock to friends, but three weeks later they found solace, one step a time.

More than half a dozen of Carmen’s closest friends decided to carry on Carmen’s courage and zest for life by coming together to form Team Carmen and participate in the CIBC Run for the Cure, a fundraising walk for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

Every year the group solicits donations for the cause. However, this year, Team Carmen partnered with the Bearfoot Bistro and Wild Horse Canyon to host a winemaker’s dinner on Wednesday, Sept. 19 at the Champagne bistro.

“It came together so easily,” said Catherine Power-Chartland of Team Carmen. “We called the Bearfoot and they were thrilled to do it for just the food costs.”

Another phone call to Camille Gemmel from the Mark Anthony Wine Group secured the donation of Wild Horse Canyon wines for the evening — and now a different kind of run is on, one with flaming frying pans and popping corks.

Team Carmen supporters will begin with freshly shucked oysters at a welcome reception. A four-course dinner will follow.

Smoked albacore tuna with a Pemberton potato arugula salad pays tribute to the Pembertonian to start, followed by a chanterelle mushroom fava bean truffle gnocchi with thyme veal jus.

The roasted lamb rack with confit shallot lamb jus is the star of the evening, and the bitter chocolate blackberry tart accompanied by a black pepper goat cheese mousse will close out the fundraiser on a sweet note.

(Vegetarian options can be pre-arranged on request.)

Each course will be coupled with a different Wild Horse Canyon wine.

The Okanagan Valley-based winery draws on grapes from the Okanagan, Washington and California to produce robust reds and clean, refreshing whites. The dinner will showcase the 2005 Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.

Dinner tickets are $150, with $100 going directly to the cause. All guests will receive a $100 tax receipt.

The fundraiser is an intimate event with only 50 seats available. Already Power-Chartland has sold almost half of the tickets.

“Everyone has been so supportive,” she said. “And if people can’t make it to the dinner, they can always donate on line.”

Donations to Team Carmen can be made by visiting or by participating in the run itself.

“If anyone would like to join team Carmen, you are more than welcome,” she said.

For the past three years, Team Carmen has joined the more than 170,000 walkers and runners who rally to the charitable cause in Vancouver, which this year takes place on Sunday, Sept. 30.

“It was a really nice, nice bonding time to talk about Carmen,” Power-Chartland said of the group’s first run. “It’s very emotional, but uplifting too. It’s really emotional to see everyone wearing a pink T-shirt and the survivors have a different shirt, so you know all the people who have been affected.”

So many are affected: an estimated 22,300 Canadian women were diagnosed with the disease this year alone.

Watching her mother successfully fight breast cancer motivated Pemberton resident Donna Hasan to get involved with Team Carmen.

Hasan, along with Shannon Paul, hosts an unofficially recognized Run for the Cure event in Pemberton every year. Last year, 50 runners, strollers and walkers came out for the 5 km walk and more than 100 participants are expected for this year’s event on Sunday, Sept. 30 at 10 a.m. starting at the Pemberton Airport.

Last year, the Pemberton event raised $1,400 for Team Carmen and organizers are hoping to raise more than $2,000 this year.

For dinner tickets, contact Catherine at 604-932-5131 or .