Family and friends came out in droves to support Jordan’s Bash for Hope, raising awareness and money to help in the fight against colon cancer.
Jordan Gardiner was a North Bay man who succumbed to this disease at a young age.
“Jordan was diagnosed with stage-four colon cancer when he was 28 years old, and it was about five days before our wedding. So, it wasn’t the start to a marriage you would like, but we knew what we were getting into,” shared Paige Shemilt, Jordan’s wife.
“We had known it had spread to his liver and his lungs and then throughout the process it had spread to his spine and his hip as well. So last year he was hobbling around on his cane, but he didn’t want to miss a moment. So, he was here for the whole thing.”
As with most cancers, early detection is key.
“Most people think colon cancer is an older person’s disease, but unfortunately it is starting younger and younger. It is a disease that is highly treatable with early detection, so there is no reason we should be having so many fatalities,” Schemilt stated.
“So, he was really passionate about creating that awareness factor and not being embarrassed about having to get a colonoscopy. We’re all human, and it is in our best interests to catch it early.”
The Bash consisted of two days of beach volleyball and live music by local musicians.
“Last year Jordan came up with the idea and we reached out to Sam Harvey who is a good friend of ours and we said, ‘What can we do?’ It started out as a small after party for a volleyball tournament, then Jordan and Sam said ‘Why don’t we just shut down Main Street and see what happens,’” laughed Jordan’s wife.
“So, we did. And he made us promise we would make it bigger and better so that’s exactly what Sam and I did.”
Jordan lost his battle against cancer in February.
“For this year’s event, we’ve been able to expand into a new location, so we’ve got a beautiful field beside the Dionne Quint’s Museum. We’re really grateful to be here, and for all the support we’ve received.“
Due to the overwhelming response, over 28 locally based bands entertained the crowds, as their way of getting the community together and to help spread the message out about colon cancer explained Sam Harvey co-chair of Jordan’s Bash for Hope.
The outdoor stage area was at the Dionne Quint’s Museum. There
The second stage was across the street, inside Lou Dawgs.
"It’s a different atmosphere, its more intimate and you can go inside and watch three-piece bands, and for the first time ever, we did a metal set, like a punk metal set Saturday night. So inside of Lou Dawgs for anyone who is more of a fan of the punk metal scene which there is a lot in North Bay, we got some amazing headliners, but outside is where you get rocking and get country with Cory Marks as a headliner,” explained Harvey.
“He (Jordan) knew my side was the music side, and he has friends on the sports side, and so we just joined forces and created a volleyball tournament and Cory Marks has always told Jordan ‘Anything you need, you have my support,’ so we took that and built on Cory’s success and willingness to play our event.”
Bands played all day and well into the night, both days.
People were able to pick up event wrist bands at the gate.
“It was a $20 donation and the money goes to Colon Cancer Canada and to local families that are fighting cancer,” Harvey added.
The beach volleyball tournament started Friday, and wrapped up Saturday afternoon.
At least 25 teams registered for that event, played at the courts behind the city transit building on Oak Street.
Last year’s inaugural event was well attended, and organizers are confident the event will continue to expand.
“This is the second year. We shut down Main Street last year, and we raised over $30-thousand and had maybe two to three thousand people. This year I’ve heard projections of 6-thousand people,” Harvey shared.
“We have tons of support, we partnered with some other organizers so North Bay Road Race organized a 5 km and a 10 km race and Northland Wrestling put up a ring.”
Based on Jordan’s vision, awareness is what will make the event a success.
“Even if we make a dollar, our goal is to raise awareness about colon cancer to as many people as possible. We have so many sponsors and people volunteering I’m sure we’ll make a good amount of money, but the goal is to raise awareness.”
Jordan was physically present attending last years festivities, but family and friends also felt his presence at the second annual event.
“Last night right before the last band started there was a shooting star that went right over the field and we were all like, ‘You know what? That’s Jordan, he’s here. The weather could not be any better and again we’re thanking Jordan for that,” smiled Shemilt.
“He’s definitely been here in spirit, listening and dancing and enjoying every minute of it.”