Cancer fundraiser flounders

Despite its worthy cause, Cheryl Graff is having a hard time getting a cancer research fundrasier off the ground.

Graff is a real estate agent with Harvey Kalles Real Estate. Along with the Canadian Cancer Society’s North York unit and other real estate agents, she has come up with the idea of creating a tour of multi-million dollar homes in Toronto’s North York neighbourhood to raise funds for cancer research.

But wary homeowners, nervous about allowing strangers into their home, have balked and the tour has been postponed. The event was supposed to take place in September, but has now been postponed until spring, 2007.

The idea is to charge people a ticket price to view 10 luxury homes. Whether the event provides visitors with a decorating idea or just to see a home they normally wouldn’t have the chance to see in person.

“People are happy to give $200 to $300 donations, but they don’t want to open their house,” Graff said. She said the original ticket price of $25 is too low and wants to make it at least $50 per person, because of the calibre of homes and to discourage those who are not serious about the cause.

‘It’s not like organizing a corporate event’

“We can raise money just by asking people and they give a $200 donation instead of letting the public in,” she said.

Amy Linton is the fundraising coordinator for the Canadian Cancer Society’s North York unit. She said new fundraising events are sometimes difficult to get off the ground. “It’s not like organizing a corporate event,” she said.

“We have to rely on sponsorship and we have to make sure money goes to the Society.”

Although the event is off to a rough start, Graff is not giving up. “If I can use my profession to help bring in more money for research, then more power,” she said.

Graff has seen her fair share of cancer. She’s seen family and friends suffering with the disease. Her uncle died in his early 60s from a brain tumour. Her mother-in-law died of cancer, and her father is still alive but has battled skin cancer and lymphoma.

“There’s been so much,” she said. “Everywhere you turn, you hear of somebody having something.”

A wonderful way to give back

Graff said she wanted to work with the Canadian Cancer Society because they raise funds for the many different types of cancers instead of just focusing on one type.

I think Cheryl does very well with what she does,” said Linton. “Cheryl knows the North York community and it is a wonderful way for her to give back.”

Graff said she would meet with people at the Cancer Society and other real estate agents until there are enough homes for the event.

Linton said she suspects the homes tour will take place and when it does she said she hopes it will raise between $15,000 and $25,000.