Our Chair

Inspiration and Hope

A note from our Chair, October 2023 

Good evening and welcome everyone,

The energy in the room tonight is such an indication of our combined focus and effort to truly come together and through celebration and comradery raise money – and hope – in the fight against breast cancer.

The battle against breast cancer is a daunting, but by the end of this evening – with the people in this room – I am sure we will have moved even closer to ensuring better outcomes for the women and men in our community fighting this horrible disease.

I would like to thank all the amazing women of the Crystal Gala Committee – Tanya Curtis, Brittney Manulak, Julie Charles, Jessica Germaine, Aman Gill, Judy Siggs, Susan Bubra, Katt Stearns, Laura Ballance, Gina Spencer and Alex Mitchell. This small but mighty group give thousands of hours collectedly of their time each year to conceptualize, built and run tonight’s event – which means that 100% of every dollar we raise tonight goes to fighting the cause. I also need to acknowledge the efforts of all the families of our committee who also work throughout the year to mount this event. Thank you.

I also want to acknowledge that during COVID, when we couldn’t be together like this, and now in 2023 two of our committee members reached significant milestones – Tanya Curtis celebrated her 20 year anniversary with the Crystal Gala in 2020, and this year Brittney Manulak is celebrating 20 years. This is an important achievement – 20 years of giving – and loving – your community and the people within in.

I also want to acknowledge the doctors, nurses, technicians, support workers and members of our medical community who have joined us tonight – they are our healthcare hero’s – the bright minds and fierce hearts that face this disease every day – please join me in showing our appreciation for their work.

I also want to acknowledge that in the room are many survivors and their loved ones. For you – breast cancer isn’t a charity, a slogan, a cause, a statistic or a TV commercial. It is something real and tangible that came, unwanted, into your life and forever changed it.

Tonight is about you, about ensuring that we, as a community, are doing everything we can to provide our healthcare professionals the best tools for the fight.

We are also working to ensure we have the best tools for the women and men who do not yet know that they will need the tools. That do not yet know that breast cancer will be part of their own story.

And that drives our committee forward because until there is no longer a need for gala’s like this, our organization, the Crystal Gala, will keep advocating for the patients in treatment and those who have not yet been diagnosed.

For 23 years we’ve focused on raising money from our community, for our community. Please know that 100% of the money raised this evening will stay right here, for you, your loved ones, your neighbours, and friends. Every dollar you give will be a dollar that will go to the cause.


These are complex times, and I think we all know how fortunate we are to live in a place like Abbotsford, in the beautiful Fraser Valley of Canada. This is a community, and a country, that cares. Which means each of you is rich with choice in places, and causes, to support with your money.

Tonight, by being here at the Crystal Gala, you have chosen decisive action against breast cancer, you’ve made a concrete gesture and joined in solidarity with those facing this disease – for that I say thank you.

In the spirit, I ask you all to raise your glasses and join me in a toast – that together we will build a future where the word “cancer” forever loses its power.

With Gratitude,

Gerri Charles, Chair, Crystal Gala Foundation