For Christina Handley, raising money for cancer related causes has deep personal meaning. It’s her calling. Christina has been struck with the disease on two occasions, once with her own diagnosis, a rare form of cancer that one in a million women experience, and second, with her life long friend, a beautiful Belgian mare she grew up with, named Reba. “I received my diagnosis a year to the day that Reba passed on,” Christina explained from her farm house in Kewartha Lakes, Ontario, a rural community of approximately 150 people. “But I have to say that despite all these challenges this disease brought into my life, the reason I succeeded is because of attitude and support from people.” Christina Handley is happy to report that her cancer has been in remission for over a year and a half.
Support during the ordeal came from her husband Boyd, a man she affectionately calls her “rock”, from friends in her local community, and from friends far away. “One friend took two months off work to drive me to my appointments while another drove all the way from Virginia to be with me. I also felt such love and support when I took in a cancer fundraising relay during my treatment. It was experiences like this that kept me going. I decided to assemble a team of friends shortly afterward for The Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life. We raised $20,000. Our goal was $2500.”
For Handley, exceeding expectations has become a way of life, her most recent experience with her daily journal providing the seed for a fundraising cookbook from Gateway Publishing. “I started to journal my story and then left the book at the treatment centre to share with people. I came back after the weekend, the whole time wondering if I had done the right thing, to find several stories written in it. We’ve taken these stories and placed them anonymously inside our cookbook. Stories of the personal journeys with cancer have made our cookbook that much more special.”
Handley’s cookbook, entitled “Fightin’ Fillies”, includes stories from everyday people undergoing cancer treatments. There are even a few from clinic volunteers, each a nice complement to the book’s wide range of recipes (courtesy of friends and family). Handley chose Gateway to print her cookbook after seeing another Gateway customer, Breasts of Friends on CBC’s Dragon’s Den. “They liked Gateway so I figured I would, and working with them was great. They took me through each step of the process, which ran very smoothly. The books just arrived and they look beautiful.”
Handley explains that she will sell the cookbook through Facebook, on her web site at www.fightinfillies.com, and by leaving it wherever she can in town. 100% of the book’s net profits go to the Canadian Cancer Society.
Given the book’s beautiful cover and its unique personal stories of people touched by cancer, she’ll have absolutely no problem doing exactly that, and given Gateway’s profitable fundraising cookbook formula, there’ll be plenty available for a good cause.