Women diagnosed with cancer are being celebrated for their strength and perseverance with a benefit event to raise awareness.

Sunday, October 30, marks the 31st annual Guardian Angel Benefit for Women's Cancer in support of CancerCare Manitoba Foundation. Originally, the event was to support breast cancer research, but now it has expanded to cover cancers that are typically found in women.

"So, breast cancer, some sort of gynecological cancers or ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, things like that," says Patti Smith, CEO and President of CancerCare Manitoba Foundation. "But another very common cancer for women and actually for young women is lung cancer. Those would be some of the main sorts of cancers that everyone could get, but certainly, we're seeing a real increase in women, young women with lung cancer."

Like other organizations, businesses, and charities, CancerCare experienced hardships in adjusting to the pandemic which was deemed difficult as cancer diagnoses continued throughout the last two years. The foundation is extremely grateful for all its supporters in the community and is excited to gather in person yet again.

All money that is raised during the Guardian Angel Benefit stays within the province. It allows the foundation to recruit the brightest minds in the world to assist cancer patients in Manitoba, and cancer research, and to make people diagnosed with cancer have the best outcomes possible.

Smith says that today, 19 people will be diagnosed with cancer which roughly translates to 7,000 a year are told they have cancer for the first time. The foundation is there to help them along every step of the way.

"One of the things the foundation does is try to support the cancer journey with the psychosocial aspect of cancer, counselling services, and dieticians, both for pediatric oncology patients right up to adult patients. So, being part of the whole journey, which for cancer patients or people with cancer, tends to be a long one. When you come into the arms of CancerCare you're generally followed for a fair bit of time. The people that do have to come here, they experience a real sense of safety, more hope."

The event will feature a speaker panel with special guests Catherine Wreford Ledlow, the latest Amazing Race Canada winner; Lee Meagher, the board chair at CancerCare Manitoba Foundation; and Nahdoondoo Oakley, with her own unique story. Each of the three women has their own experiences with cancer and will be sharing their stories to bring strength to other women who are diagnosed with cancer.

The Guardian Angel Benefit for Women's Cancer is being called Manitoba's largest tea party. It is being held at the RBC Convention Centre, at the York Ballroom at 12:30 p.m.

Tickets are still available at GuardianAngelMB.ca. An online auction is live as of Thursday, October 20 at GuardianAngelAuction.ca in support of the event.