Ashok Memorial Tournament and Fair raises money for hospital

The 9th Annual Ashok Memorial Tournament and Fair, held July 23 at Mackie Park, aims to raise $19,715 for cancer detection instrument.

Greek dancers entertain the crowd at the Ashok Memorial Tournament and Fair.

Sports enthusiasts and foodies will come together in support of a good cause at the 9th annual Ashok Memorial Tournament and Fair.

The annual cancer research fundraiser, taking place at Mackie Park on July 23, is held in memory of Ashok Philip Abraham who passed away from leukemia on November 23, 2007 at the age of 28. The event features a soccer and volleyball tourna- ment as well as face painting, games, a colouring contest and a bouncy castle for the kids and lots of delicious South Asian foods.

Asha Abraham, Ashok’s sister and a director at the Ashok Memorial Foundation, said the event combines two of her brother’s passions.

“Ashok, he was a big fan of soccer, and two of his favourite things were food and the game,” said Asha Abraham, Ashok’s sister and a director at the Ashok Memorial Foundation. “That’s how it got started and we’ve just continued it ever since.”

Admission to the event is free, however attendees must purchase tickets on site for the various activities and food vendors. One hundred per cent of the money raised at the event goes to the Surrey Hospital and Outpatient Centre Foundation, and tax receipts will be provided for donations of $20 or more.

This is the fifth straight year the Ashok Memorial Foundation has partnered with the Surrey Hospital and Outpatient Centre Foundation to help them raise much-needed funds for the hospital’s oncology departments. In that time the event has raised nearly $70,000.

This year, the event aims to raise $19,715 to purchase a Bluetooth probe, one half of the Neoprobe Gamma Detection System. Surgeons inject the pa- tient with dye and within minutes can locate and diagnose cancer in the lymph nodes where the disease tends to spread to first.

“With this system the lymph nodes actually glow, making the detection and removal way easier and a much higher rate of certainty about proper diagnosis and staging of the cancer as well,” said Sarah Kocaba, director of corporate and community partnerships for the Surrey Hospital and Outpatient Centre Foundation. “Let alone the medical side of things, the peace of mind for patients — findingout almost instantly where they’re at — is really important.”

The probe, which is 50 per cent more sensitive than the older corded version, would replace many of the invasive procedures such as biopsies that are currently used to detect cancer in the lymph nodes, including the various devices and methods doctors must use depending on where in the body the cancer is growing.

“Lymph nodes can be in the neck, underarms,chest, abdomen or groin, and these specific lymph nodes are where, if the cancer is spreading, it goes to first.” Kocaba said. “There’s a lot of medical jargon and whatnot, but basically it takes the guesswork out of identifying these lymph nodes and knowing if they are cancerous and [if ] the cancer has spread.”

The 9th annual Ashok Memorial Tournament and Fair takes place at Mackie Park on July 23 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.