Jordan Giller’s mother, Debbie, was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2016, right as he was graduating from university in upstate New York.
Today, Debbie Giller is living cancer-free. She underwent treatment for a year and a half at the Marvelle Koffler Breast Centre at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. She described her care there as “wonderful,” and Jordan Giller agreed, calling it “outstanding.” So outstanding, in fact, that it inspired him to create a philanthropic event to thank the hospital for helping his mother.
The inaugural Big or Small event took place last year. Giller, who’s now an MBA student at Wilfrid Laurier University, rented out a portion of the ping pong-themed club SPiN in downtown Toronto, putting the charge on his own credit card. He then sold just over 100 tickets for $30 each and raised additional funds from friends and family. In total, he brought in close to $13,000.
“This event that I put on, this fundraiser, was kind of just to get some friends together for a good time and for a worthwhile cause and try to get the ball rolling, and what happened was it turned out to be a lot bigger than we expected,” said Giller.
But instead of being satisfied with the event’s success, he decided to double down on it: he renamed the event In the Pink, after the expression meaning in good health, and formed a committee of other young professionals to help him plan it. It will be taking place on Oct. 19, in the middle of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, at the Drake Hotel.
Giller said he expects over 200 people to attend. And with tickets ranging from $60 to $80 and a committee to help him with the fundraising and event planning, he expects to raise between $30,000 and $40,000.
Giller has been working hard to create value for the Marvelle Koffler Centre, but also for the people who will be attending the event. There will be an open bar and a prize giveaway, thanks to the help of a number of corporate sponsors.
“I’m a full time student. I work all day and then I spend probably just as much time on this. I treat this as a small business and I think this is the only way to really do it and do it successfully, if you want to grow it exponentially every year,” said Giller. “I’m extremely emotionally involved and connected to it. It’s not just me just kind of doing something to fill up my resume. This is something I care about, it’s my baby. It’s going to grow every year.”
Giller’s goal is to make In the Pink the go-to breast cancer awareness event for young professionals every year. But what’s most important to him is the cause it represents.
“At the end of the day, the bottom line is, we want to raise as much money as we can and we help patients and their families deal with their medical journey in whatever capacity that is. So that’s what I’m interested in,” he said.
Debbie Giller is moved by her son’s efforts.
“He’s pretty passionate about it, it shows his love and care for me,” she said. “I’m so incredibly proud of not just Jordan, but all of these young people who have come together for a cause.… But the fact that he’s doing this, it really wraps his arms and soul around me. It’s beautiful.”
To purchase tickets, visit inthepinkto.ca