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Women come together to raise funds for family of murder victims

By: Allison Chorney

  |  Posted: Thursday, Jul 24, 2014 10:38 am

Jaime McKay, Malissa Ancell and Sherry Johnson organizes a fundraising trade show and silent auction to support the O'Brien / Liknes family on July 19 at the Ramada Inn in Airdrie. The event included more than 100 silent auction items donated by area businesses and 22 vendors. The event and a similar one on July 20 in Calgary, raised about $2,400 for the family with more expected to come as the silent auction results are tallied.
Jaime McKay, Malissa Ancell and Sherry Johnson organizes a fundraising trade show and silent auction to support the O'Brien / Liknes family on July 19 at the Ramada Inn in Airdrie. The event included more than 100 silent auction items donated by area businesses and 22 vendors. The event and a similar one on July 20 in Calgary, raised about $2,400 for the family with more expected to come as the silent auction results are tallied.
Allison Chorney/Rocky View Publishing

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Shortly after news broke that homicide charges had been laid against Airdronian Douglas Robert Garland in connection with the disappearance of Calgarians five-year-old Nathan O’Brien and his grandparents Alvin and Kathy Liknes on July 14, three local women decided they needed to do something to help the family of the victims.

Within three days they had connected with dozens of local businesses and home-party-based vendors, received more than 100 donated items for a silent auction, located a space to hold a charity silent auction and trade show, and secured 22 vendors to not only participate in the event but also donate their commission from the day.

“We are all mothers and we couldn’t imagine what these families are going through,” said Jaime McKay, one of the event organizers. “We felt like we needed to do something to support them.”

The event occurred on July 19 at the Ramada Inn in Airdrie and on July 20 at the Delta Calgary South with 100 per cent of the proceeds raised going to the O’Brien/Liknes family.

McKay, along with Malissa Ancell and Sherry Johnson, raised just more than $2,400 with a lot more expected from the silent auction results, which are currently being tallied.

The trio has opened an account for the O’Brien/Liknes family and will put all the funds raised at the silent auction and trade show in the account until they have hosted their other planned fundraising events in the near future.

“We will be starting an online auction and bidding war for whatever wasn’t bid on at the (July 19 and 20) event,” McKay said, adding they are waiting until they collect all the funds from the silent auction winners before moving forward with the online auction.

She said Johnson will also be hosting a charity barbecue soon to raise even more funds for the family.

Details and dates of these upcoming events will be posted to the “Calgary Community Support Walk for the Liknes-O’Brien Family” Facebook page. A date was not known as of press time.

The trio has also been invited to the Symons Valley Ranch Farmers’ Market in Calgary on July 25 to 27, where they will be collecting donations.

In addition, the market will be hosting its one-year anniversary celebration, which will include free Child ID Kits for all children.

Once all events have been completed and all funds from auction purchases have been collected, the trio will take the funds to the O’Brien Family Trust fund at ATB Financial. Donations to the account can be made by anyone at any ATB location, including the two Airdrie branches.

“We have to do what we feel is right to support them,” McKay said of why the women organized the events. “It’s just something to do our part.”

However, the women don’t want all the attention on them and said they couldn’t have done any of this without the support of local businesses, vendors and the community.

“If it wasn’t for the support of (businesses and vendors) this wouldn’t have gone anywhere,” McKay said.

“We want to give a huge thank you to everyone involved.”

She added a thank you to Ramada Inn and Delta South Calgary for donating the rooms, linens and all the tables used during the event.

“They were amazing,” McKay said.

She said the food for vendors for the day was also donated and they had many volunteers giving up their weekend to help out too.

“It shows that we can all come together and support each other,” McKay said. “It teaches us a valuable lesson as well, to not take things for granted and hug your family a little closer.”


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