Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Tea for two? How about for 1,500?

Giant party will raise funds for CancerCare

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Sandra Lorange, a Guardian Angels committee member, shows off some of the donated teacups for an upcoming CancerCare fundraiser.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Sandra Lorange, a Guardian Angels committee member, shows off some of the donated teacups for an upcoming CancerCare fundraiser. Photo Store

None of the teacups that families are donating for Manitoba's biggest tea party are about tea, not really.

It turns out that tea is about more than the scent of Earl Grey or Darjeeling, which is a good thing.

Ida Albo will host the tea party for 1,500 on Sunday, Oct. 27, at the Convention Centre to raise funds for women's cancer programs.

Albo, co-owner of the Fort Garry Hotel, is the chairwoman of the Guardian Angels committee, a group that raises funds for the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation.

This year, the group decided affluent Winnipeggers could use a break from attending expensive fundraising dinners.

So when committee member Sandra Lorange came up with the idea of hosting a high tea, the tea party was born.

But to have a tea party for 1,500, you need 1,500 tea cups. And the effort to collect them could use a little more help, Lorange said Monday.

In June, Free Press columnist Lindor Reynolds set the donations rolling in a column about the tea party and the appeal for donations.

Ironically, it ran was just weeks before Reynolds was diagnosed with cancer and wrote her column, "I'll miss you while I'm fighting monsters.''

Lorange said the column touched a tender chord with people.

"The story resonated with everybody," Lorange said.

This week, Lorange is reminding people once more to drop off their cherished china cups and saucers at Safeway Stores. Pink polka-dot boxes are still waiting and they'll be there until Aug. 20. As with the initial appeal, donors are asked to write a note explaining the significance of the cups.

In a phone interview, Lorange said teacups have been arriving from throughout Manitoba. One carefully wrapped box arrived from North Bay, Ont., sent by a former Winnipegger who'd read Reynolds' column.

Many said the donations were gifts or heirlooms handed down from earlier generations. Each came packed with memories about the solace and the warmth of sharing a cup of tea.

With one cup, for instance, came a story about a fall, a broken leg and a cup of tea from a woman who recalled her mother took a bad fall down the stairs and broke her leg but told her daughter to hold off before calling an ambulance or driving her to the emergency room.

"Get me a cup of tea before we go to the hospital," Lorange recalled from the letter tucked into the teacup.

"There are a lot of heartfelt stories (like that)," Lorange said. She said many believed their parents would be proud of them for offering their cups for such a worthy cause.

The committee hosting the tea party has also decided what they'll do with the teacups: Everybody will be sent home with one.

Donations of complete sets will be auctioned off in what's been promised to be the biggest rainbow auction Manitoba has ever seen. Organizers hope to raise $400,000 for women's cancer programs. Tickets are $150 each or $2,000 for a table.

alexandra.paul@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 30, 2013 A2

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Updated on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 7:44 AM CDT: adds photo

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