This Saturday the team from Cancer is a Drag will be celebrating five years of fundraising at the venue where it all started: Halfway II Heaven. Hosted by Rose Garden, this special party will feature an amazing line up of cabaret stars including Mrs Moore, Lola Lasagne, Baga Chipz, Felix Le Freak, Doctor Woof and loads more. Dave Cross spoke to Rose about working with this brilliant charity.
Hi Rose, how did you first become involved with Cancer is a Drag?
I became involved with Cancer is a Drag five years ago, when founder Alan Bugg asked Halfway II Heaven to do a fundraiser, so that they could become a registered charity.
What is it about this charity that appeals to you?
I’ve actually been helped by the charity myself and feel that it’s important I should give back in any way I can. I love that it has a personal touch too; it’s not a faceless charity, they get involved.
For those who don’t know, what exactly is it that Cancer is a Drag does?
They raise money with events like this and more in many venues. They make payments to help people who are going through various treatments or coping with the after effects of cancer. Helping with everything they can to make it all a bit easier to cope by providing financial support where it is most needed, freeing up beneficiaries to deal with the disease and its treatments, to stop cancer being any more of a drag than it already is. It’s a much needed resource unfortunately not that readily available elsewhere.
And it’s run by Alan Bugg, who is in remission I believe now?
Yes it was started by Alan when he was first diagnosed, he’s in remission now. He’s had a few major setbacks but is still fighting. He knows that the little things can help during treatment, like cabs home after chemo or help with bills as you’ve had to take time of work, even a little present to brighten your day if you’re in hospital. Believe me, these things mean a lot.
Halfway has been at the centre of Cancer is a Drag from the start, can you tell us about the fundraising at the venue?
I’m so proud of Halfway II Heaven. I’d like to thank Heather and the whole team for all the support, with both customers and staff having been so wonderfully generous. We do a big fundraiser once a year but continue to raise money every week. We did Swap Shop for four years every Saturday where people could swap or buy stuff from my pop up shop on stage during my show. Over the years we have seen everything from dildos to roller boots and jigsaws. Plus all the cloakroom money goes to charity. Saturday is Cancer is a Drag, Sunday it’s The Food Chain and different charities during the week. Every little helps, to quote a major supermarket chain. We shall find out on Saturday what Halfway’s total for Cancer is a Drag is to date.
What can we expect at the 5th anniversary party on Saturday?
You can expect a fun filled night. Packed with glamour, drag, lots of songs, risqué banter, shots, high jinks and a lot of love. We have more than 10 acts performing and offering their services for free… OK, there may be payment in booze and sexual favours. See you all there.