By Sean Meyer
Jen Beamish has been a fan of the 80s and 90s music icons New Kids on the Block (NKOTB) for many years.
She has been a supporter of breast cancer research for relatively less time, but the disease made the battle personal when she lost her grandmother to it.
When the opportunity came to combine these two seemingly opposite passions, Beamish was quick to take advantage. She recently formed the London Ladies, a group of passionate NKOTB fans who are part of the nationwide Team Betty Canada organization that supports ongoing efforts to raise money in the fight against breast cancer.
“I found people of common interest on Twitter, all these people were fans, but also supporters of the work the band does on behalf of breast cancer research,” Beamish said. “I always wanted to do something to support the fight against breast cancer, and so when the opportunity came along to do that, and to have so much fun, I knew I had to get involved.”
Beamish and the rest of her team (which currently includes 11 London members) joined with other fans prior to the Sunday (Aug. 7) concert by the NKOTB and Backstreet Boys at the John Labatt Centre to hold a charity pub at the Honest Lawyer restaurant in support of the CIBC Run for the Cure.
In addition to their goal of raising $1,000 in support of the run — which the London Ladies will be participating in on Oct. 2 — the charity pub also gave Beamish and her friends the chance to meet other Team Betty supporters.
One such supporter is Adina Ingram who is captain of the T-Dot (Toronto) team, as well as the national captain for Team Betty Canada. Ingram formed the Toronto team and spearheaded Team Betty’s national status after learning about the E-Town Girls, an Edmonton-based team of breast cancer fighters and NKTOB fans.
The connection between band fans and the breast cancer fight can be traced back to Danny Wood, a member of NKTOB, whose mother died from breast cancer, and who is very active with the Susan G. Komen Foundation. The Komen Foundation is a Breast Cancer Foundation based out of the United States.
“We all have a connection as New Kids fans. We have 70 members nationally and one survivor too,” Ingram said. “So when the concert was going to be here in London, it was a great chance for many of us to get together. There are people here from across Canada and even the United States.”
The Honest Lawyer agreed to support the group by donating $10 of every $20 ticket sold for the event to the cause. The event also features grab bags, door prizes and an NKOTB-related silent auction.
While Team Betty teams exist to support the fight against breast cancer and take part in efforts such as the CIBC Run for the Cure, Ingram said there is another benefit to being in the organization.
“I didn’t know these people three years ago, but now we have this amazing connection,” Ingram said. “I can now go coast-to-coast and meet with people I know because of this. That feels pretty great.”
For more information on Team Betty activities or for more information on upcoming events, visit www.teambettycanada.com.