A unique fundraiser that saw toilets mysteriously appear on some Sylvan Lake lawns over the past six weeks has now come to a close, but not before raising a whopping $4,600 for the Alberta Cancer Foundation.
The Game of Thrones was the brainchild of Coreen Spencer, who created it as a means of raising the $2,500 needed to fund her participation in the 2015 Ride to Conquer Cancer bike ride.
The game required Sylvan Lake residents to pay a $25 fee to have one of three colourfully-painted toilets removed from their property, before being given the chance to assign it to another property at a cost of $50. That process repeated until weather made it difficult to do so.
At the end of it all, Spencer nearly doubled her fundraising goal.
“It was not uncommon to be moving one, two or three toilets a night, or at least one a couple of times a night,” she said. “A couple of people even hoped to get a throne back because they had more than one person they wanted to send it to.”
After the toilets were painted and decorated, strong community participation quickly followed.
Some people were perplexed by the appearance of a colourful toilet on their front lawn, but the majority of toilet recipients were happy to play along, according to Spencer.
“For the most part, people were very receptive and had some good laughs over their new lawn furniture,” she said. “Sometimes people would be annoyed that a toilet showed up on their lawn, but once I explained that a friend sent it to them as they thought they would also enjoy the game, they were much more receptive.”
The toilets, fastened to pallets for maximum stability, were transported silently in the night by Spencer with the help of her husband David. Together, the pair managed to place them on the lawns of unsuspecting Sylvan Lake residents without getting caught.
“We had several close calls of people just coming home, just leaving or sitting in their living rooms while we crept around their yard,” said Spencer. “Several times I told people I felt like a naughty teenager up to no good.”
Because of the fun and money that was generated by the fundraiser, Spencer decided to extend it past its initially planned end date of the town’s first major snowfall.
Now finally over, it’s proved more successful than she could have ever imagined.
“It has been a great time, and I am very thankful for all the people who so willingly took part in the Game of Thrones,” she said.
Money raised goes directly to the Alberta Cancer Foundation, and ensures her participation in the 230-kilometre Ride to Conquer Cancer bike ride, which winds through the foothills of Alberta in August of next year.
At press time, Spencer was leading the province in fundraising. She’ll participate in the ride for the fifth time.
Further donations are still being accepted, and may be made by searching Spencer’s name on the 2015 Alberta Ride to Conquer Cancer website.