Community members and volunteers dressed in pink at the Big Valley platform participate in the breast cancer awareness event on Thursday

Prairie Railways train turns pink for cancer awareness

There was a riot of pink between Stettler and Big Valley as the Alberta Prairie Train decorated in pink took off on Thursday morning.

There was a riot of pink between Stettler and Big Valley as the Alberta Prairie Train decorated in pink took off on Thursday morning, Aug. 25 and headed towards the Village of Big Valley to participate in the breast cancer awareness event and revelry.

When the Village of Big Valley came to Stettler’s Bob Willis, general manager of the Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions, and asked if they would help them in their efforts to become Alberta’s ‘Pinkest Little Town’ as part of Wild Pink Yonder’s breast cancer cure campaign, Alberta Prairie president and CEO Don Gillespie jumped at the chance.

“We were only too willing to turn the train pink and immediately started thinking about how to engage people in raising some money for the fight against breast cancer,” said Willis. “As it turned out Alberta Prairie is very pleased to have been asked and to have been a part of this Big Valley community project.”

There were 691 cookies that were exchanged on the train and raised $691, but the total funds raised were $1,073.25 with the donations made on the train.

The cookies were all handmade and provided by Catrina Dubitz of Catrina’s Catering in Big Valley who made 800 cookies, 400 pink and an equal number of white.

“The event was a huge success and all the passengers and participants throroughly enjoyed themselves,” said Willis. “In fact it was one of our best turned-out events of all times with a lot of passenger engagement.”

With 374 passengers on board, Willis could not have been more right.

“By the end of Alberta Prairie’s operating season many thousands of dollars will have been contributed in support of the Bar Harbour Children’s Camp out of the funds raised by train robberies,” added Willis. “We raised a little money and our passengers, the people of Big Valley, and the organizers of the Wild Pink Yonder Ride for the Cure certainly appeared appreciative of our efforts and we had some fun doing it.”

The children were entertained by Clown Rosco and other entertainers on route, participating in a teddy bear promenade, and later being treated to an Alberta roast beef and hot dog buffet meal.

“All the children were presented with a plush stuffy as a prize, they experienced vintage train travel and got to bring the adults along to share in the fun,” said Willis. “We are particularly appreciative of Bonnie Lynn of Stettler for agreeing to be Alberta Prairie’s honorary guest engineer on the pink train, Alberta Prairie’s staff for creating decorations and coming in early to work on the day of the trip, and thankful to the passengers and people of Big Valley for making the cookie exchange work, and for everyone for thinking pink for one day.”


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