Corey Sekinger received his last cancer treatment at the Cross Cancer Institute on April 29th, 2004. After he was done, he made a bucket list of all the things he’s ever wanted to do and over time started to check things off his list one by one, till he got to the very last item – to start doing stand-up comedy.
“When I was going through treatment I didn’t think about dying, I just kept thinking about jokes. Getting cancer is the reason why I got into comedy which was my true calling in life,” says Corey.
After learning the ropes and being mentored by his friend and fellow comedian Justin Littlechild, Cory began to perform stand up comedy in 2014. He then decided to commemorate the anniversary of completing his cancer treatments by hosting an annual comedy night fundraiser in support of the Alberta Cancer Foundation.
Every year, Corey would host his event ‘The Half Nuts Comedy Night Fundraiser’ in different bars and pubs across Edmonton along with 3 to 4 comics per show.
To date, he has raised over $4450, with all proceeds going towards cancer treatment and care at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton.
Despite the pandemic, the 2020 Half Nuts Comedy Night Fundraiser raised the most it has over 7 years, largely due to the community support of residents in Camrose, Alberta.
Corey partnered with Carmen Krause the co-owner of Retro, a pool and billiard restaurant in Downtown Camrose. He had been doing live comedy at Retro for about a year when he reached out to Carmen about the fundraiser and to her, it was a no brainer.
“Retro has always been a community-oriented restaurant and over the years we have hosted fundraisers for animal shelters, the LGBTQ community, youth organizations and more. I’m all game for our business to support community initiatives. We like to give back in any way we can,” says Carmen.
But on March 4th, 2020 the cause of giving back to patients at the Cross Cancer Institute hit home for her.
“We received a call from our daughter, Brittany crying in the hospital. She was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma at 20 years old.”
The cause was important to Brittany and her family not only because she was receiving treatment at the Cross but also because of the support of the Alberta Cancer Foundation’s Patient Financial Assistance Program, which helped Brittany alleviate some of the medical costs and expenses of her treatment.
Corey’s fundraiser was initially cancelled due to COVID-19 but in June the Retro was able to have comedy performances again. They decided to host an online auction along with a comedy set that was headlined by Corey and featured ten other local stand-up comedians.
“Brittany chose to share her story to garner more support for the event and because she’s always been so involved in the Camrose community we received so much support,” says Carmen.
“People started to share how cancer has impacted them and local businesses donated over 70 items for our silent auction. It was incredible to see how we were all able to come together to support this cause especially now as we’re all struggling with the changes brought by the pandemic. We have all been hit hard financially, economically, emotionally, mentally but we were still able to step up.”
The Alberta Cancer Foundation is grateful for fundraisers and supporters like Corey and Carmen for helping bring the community together to give back to those facing cancer.
Interested in setting up a fundraiser of your own? Click here.