Twins raise funds to fight cancer in friend’s name

After more than a decade of raising money Chris and Jamie Ruscheinski’s resolve to fight the disease has yet to dissipate.

Shaun Gauthier, above, passed away from a rare form of cancer that took his life two weeks after being diagnosed. Gauthier’s childhood friends Chris and Jamie Ruscheinski are honouring him with CURE is the New Black, an event the brothers hope will raise $80,000 for the Shaun G Foundation. All money earned for the foundation goes towards fighting cancer.

Shaun Gauthier, above, passed away from a rare form of cancer that took his life two weeks after being diagnosed. Gauthier’s childhood friends Chris and Jamie Ruscheinski are honouring him with CURE is the New Black, an event the brothers hope will raise $80,000 for the Shaun G Foundation. All money earned for the foundation goes towards fighting cancer.

After more than a decade of raising money and awareness for cancer research, twins Chris and Jamie Ruscheinski’s resolve to fight the disease has yet to dissipate.

In fact, their momentum has increased considerably as the years have gone by and they’ve migrated from backyard barbecues to ballroom galas. They were once thrilled to raise over $20,000, but these days they’re able to throw events that bring in over six figures towards the cause.

“We’re doing it to motivate the youth to spend their money on something that matters. You can go to a bar and spend the same amount of money or you can come party, and fight cancer and go home feeling good about what you’ve done,” Chris Ruscheinski says.

The brothers are continuing these efforts on April 21 with their latest fundraiser, CURE is the New Black.

The event kicks off at the new BMW Langley Dealership (6025 Collection Dr.) at 8 p.m. with performances from five DJs and catering from Top Chef Canada contestant Trevor Bird.

The twins began raising money after their mother passed away from breast cancer 11 years ago. When their 28-year-old friend Shaun Gauthier died in 2010 from a rare form of cancer known as angiosarcoma, the brothers expanded their fundraising efforts to include Gauthier’s memory.

“Shaun had 5,000 friends on Facebook and he’s an iconic dude (in) downtown (Vancouver),” Ruscheinski says. “We had a fundraiser three weeks after he passed away. It was a bunch of Shaun’s best friends and we raised over $100,000.”

CURE is the New Black will be the sixth large-scale fundraiser the brothers have organized.

“They’ve gotten a lot larger than they used to (be). Our last one had over 1,000 people and raised about $120,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society,” Ruscheinski says.

This time, however, all the proceeds go towards new the Shaun G Foundation.

Ruscheinski says “every penny” donated to the charity named for his high school friend will go directly to cancer research. This year’s goal is to raise $80,000.

The 18 VIP tables have already sold out – each at a cost of $1,000 – but Ruscheinski says about one-third of the general admission tickets are still available for $45 a piece.

Marketed as a black and white event, Ruscheinski says patrons can wear anything from jeans and a T-shirt to a tuxedo so long as the attire is black and white.

“(We’re) letting everybody know that they aren’t invincible and they need to go and get checked,” he says, adding at least one or two friends have been able to detect cancer early due to increased awareness.

Tickets and more information can be found at twinscancerfundraising.com.