Harcourts Cancer Society Ball Raises $167,000

Prime Minister and new mum Jacinda Ardern’s creative talents have helped raise much-need funds for cancer research.

An artwork of hers was auctioned at Christchurch’s annual Cancer Society Ball, which on Saturday raised $167,000 for the charity – enough to fund one week of its services.

The Cancer Society, which needs $5 million to deliver accommodation, research, and patient welfare services this year, was thrilled to receive the sum through a combination of pledges, raffles and live and silent auctions.

Chief executive Elizabeth Chesterman said the event was a key fund raiser for the charity and “a wonderful and glamorous opportunity for our caring community to come together and contribute for the greater good of people in need”.

Television personality Hilary Barry was the Master of Ceremonies for the evening at Horncastle Arena, which about 850 people attended. The Eastern, internationally renowned DJs Sweet Mix Kids, and local duo Byllie-Jean and Simon entertained the crowd throughout the night.

An emotional speech from cancer survivor Carrie Broomhall left the room teary-eyed and “really [brought] it home, that that’s what we’re here for”, Chesterman said.

The ball elicited support from “so many, and that’s why its so special”, she said.

“There seemed to just be so many happy people there and they were once again incredibly generous, which is very humbling.

“It’s lovely to be at an event where people come for the right reasons.”

Guests bid on 13 “grand items”, including business class flights for two anywhere in the world and the Ardern artrwork, while the silent auction was conducted online. Combined, they raised $125,290.

A further $19,120 was raised through a raffle of a diamond ring, and 67 people pledged $250 each to fund scholarships for three students to undertake national and local cancer research projects.

Harcourts chief executive Chris Kennedy said the real estate company was “incredibly proud” to be the event’s lead sponsor for the third year running.

“While tonight we think about those who are suffering and have gotten the news, we’re also celebrating those who have gotten through, those who have survived.”