Food, friends and fundraising

Eight women, three meal courses, one colour, one cause.

Saturday night's Cook for the Cure dinner party at Amanda Bosman's house: priceless.

Well, actually the event was worth $1,450, because that's how much was raised for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation at the gathering.

Bosman took the occasion of her friend Nadine Read's 40th birthday, added the fact that Read's mother had just gone through chemotherapy for a recurrence of breast cancer, nestled it all into a group of seven close friends and came out with an event that was as good for the heart and soul as it was for the appetite.

"I was trying to think how to have a surprise birthday party for her. She had to go to New Brunswick because her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, with a recurrence, so she had to go through chemo again. Nadine went for her last chemo treatment," she said.

Bosman saw that the foundation has a Cook for the Cure online registry to raise money for the cause and decided Nadine's 40th birthday fit the occasion.

"I love cooking. Being a physician myself, it (breast cancer) is close to my every day experiences," she said.

Pink being the signature colour of the breast-cancer cause, all the participants of the evening were decked out from top to bottom in as brilliant a shade as possible.

But Read didn't know anything about the surprise dinner. In fact, Bosman posted hoax messages on Facebook that said she'd be in Vancouver on the weekend.

Read's first indication she was in for an unusual evening came when an RCMP officer delivered a box with a pink dress, shoes and other accessories, along with instructions she was to be ready in an hour.

Then Bosman and friend Melissa Arnold collected Read in a pink Cadillac borrowed from a local Mary Kay consultant, and drove her to Bosman's house.

"I think I have an overripe imagination," Bosman said of the dramatic start to the evening.

"I knew she would absolutely embrace the sentiment. It just took on a life of its own."

At the house, Read was greeted with a cocktail, a Naughty Nadine, which was, of course, pink.

"When she got her, in the first 10 minutes, she phoned her mom. She had a few quiet moments outside. She just said she was thrilled and her mom thanked us all on Facebook."

But even the best-laid plans of women raising money for a good cause while celebrating a friend's birthday can go slightly askew. That came in the form of an evening-long power outage.

The women were supposed to cook the meal together. But without power, there were no stoves, ovens or even microwaves working.

The women's husbands provided the back up plan. They were invited to attend later to share in cupcakes for the birthday. Instead, they took the food to another house to do the cooking while the women - celebrated.

The meal itself consisted of an appetizer of snowcrab in cucumber collars, a main meal of beef tenderloin medallions, carmelized carrots and potatoes au gratin and dessert - well, there's only so much cooking you can expect the men to do.

"We were going to have chocolate lava cakes,. But the power wasn't on, so we settled for the cupcakes."

Bosman registered her Cook for the Cure party online, and people sponsored and donated at the web site. The foundation offered up support, pins and ribbons.

Bosman had everyone donate before the party, so when the big night came, Read could see how much had been collected.

Bosman hopes the group will hold more Cook for the Cure events. And she would like to see more awareness about it.

"Even just in my practice a few days beforehand - my patients were asking what I was going to do on the weekend, when I told them, there was little awareness about it."

The web site is www.cookforthecure.ca.

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