Gala comes to the aid of childhood cancer survivors

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By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario - Extravagant masks covered identities at the sold out 'Masquer-Aid' 2014 gala, but not the true colours of an event fighting to end childhood cancer.

Nearly 200 people gathered at Ramada Cornwall on Friday, Jan. 30 to help raise over $15,000 for Candlelighters - a cancer support program for youth 18 years of age and under.

The heroic story of brain cancer survivor and guest speaker Paige Dillabough, 19, captivated the crowd.

Dr. Raji Menon, gala co-organizer, pushed her own personal milestone aside to create an event that helps local kids and teens battling a deadly disease.

In her career, she has performed many cancer surgeries, seeing the impact of the disease first-hand.

"The Candlelighters do so much for the community and a lot of people don't even know about them," said Menon. "Every child who has had cancer in our area today, yesterday, and even ten years ago have been touched by their services."

She was overwhelmed by the turnout, and the amount of gifts that were donated to be auctioned.

"There's easily $20,000 in donations from the community," said Menon.

Helen Dawkes-Brown, gala co-organizer, said all the money raised will help families grappling with childhood cancer pay the transportation costs of frequent hospital visits, and provide young cancer patients with laptops and iPads.

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