The Nite of Hope Gala has special meaning for each individual.
It can be an opportunity to celebrate life, honour those who have passed away, and serve as a time for reflection.
For Richmond brothers Mike and Adam Basford, this year’s event was all that and more.
Part of the 50/50 Guys group for several years, the duo lends their time to raise funds on the night selling tickets for cash prizes as a way of honouring the memory of their mother, Debbie, who lost her battle with breast cancer in 2009 at the age of 54.
As with previous Nite of Hope events the pair had a great time, rousing up the crowd with their fellow 50/50 Guys selling tickets
But, having guest speaker and performer Bif Naked on hand, presented a unique and heartfelt moment, especially for Adam.
“Five years ago I was playing hockey with the Vancouver Giants and Ian Walker (Bif Naked’s husband at the time) was a sports reporter with the Vancouver Sun. He approached me about doing a story about my mom passing away,” Adam says. “I said yeah, I was willing to tell my story. And I guess while he was writing the story, he must have shared it with Bif and it hit her really hard at that time because she was going through her own breast cancer battle then. And she wrote me a condolence card.”
When he received it, Adam said he was caught off guard.
“I was shocked and really touched by it,” he says. “And when I found out Bif was going to be at the Nite of Hope this year, the first thing that popped into my mind was wanting to share my story with her.”
Sure enough, after Naked spoke to the audience and performed a set of songs, Adam made his way backstage and had a chance to speak with Canada’s queen of punk rock.
“I told her I had a story for her and I definitely rocked her a little bit,” Adam says. “I even saw a couple of tears in her eyes.”
“She’s an amazing woman and her strength is an inspiration to all, and I just wanted to share my story with her.”
Adam says Naked told him she remembered writing the card.
“It was really touching,” he says. “It was such a simple gesture for someone to do, but it meant a lot to me at the time, and still does.”
The brothers say Nite of Hope has helped with the loss of their mother which came quickly following her diagnosis.
“She was diagnosed in April and her battle only lasted eight months,” says Mike, who also played hockey and went on to become a referee in the WHL. “She had a really aggressive form of cancer.
“She fought as hard as she could, but it wasn’t meant to be.”
Being young adults at the time when their mom died — Mike was 23 and Adam 19 — the news that she was ill came as a shock.
“That’s the last thing you’re thinking about when your at that age,” Mike says. “And even when she was diagnosed, we felt she was going to beat it.
“You never really expect for it to be over that fast. She was such a strong personality.”
To keep her legacy alive the Basfords remain committed to being part of the 50/50 Guys.
“Just to be able to contribute a little bit it means a lot to us. We try to bring a little bit of life to the event. Sometimes, things can get a little solemn, and we try to liven things up a bit,” Mike says.
The first year Mike took part in, the Nite of Hope was dedicated to his mom.
“It’s something we hold close to our hearts and want to continue,” added Mike.