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The Week: Sept. 6 — Poker can fight cancer

Western Speedway's Smokin’ Joe Liberatore hosts a poker run, and Monday's favourite Chinese veterans win prestigious medal
Veteran Gordon Quan (left) stands with outgoing MP Denise Savoie to receive his Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Poker can fight cancer

Those looking for a thrilling (but do-good) weekend adventure need look no further than a nearby gambling establishment.

With Cops For Cancer nearly ready to ride off into the sunset, one well-known rider is planning his own way to support the team. Smokin’ Joe Liberatore, better termed as one of the fastest and fearless racers of Western Speedway, has organized a Poker Run and Comedy Night on Sat., Sept. 8, for a day-long thrill ride of motorcycles, gambling, guffaws and adrenaline. After that, it’s back to Western Speedway on Sat., Sept. 15, for the annual fundraising head-shave to pair with demo racing, total destruction and tough trucks.

Liberatore is known around the community for his charity-focused events, but says this year’s fundraising activities have hit especially close to home. In May, doctors found a tumour growing in Liberatore’s adrenal gland. Liberatore underwent an operation on July 11, and is now in recovery.

“I know how many of my friends have been touched by this, and now personally seeing how well patients are treated by our medical system, it’s so important to me,” says Liberatore. “I’m a big guy, but I was a scared baby when it came to dealing with all this — now I’m almost ready to race again.”

Liberatore hopes to raise $10,000 this year to donate to the Cops For Cancer program. Tickets for the Poker Run are $10, and participants (both car and motorcycle) can register at Glen Lake Inn (2668 Sooke) by noon. Ride travels to Jordan River and back to the inn, with card-playing stops along the way. Another $10 gives participants access to the live bands and the comedy show from 2pm to midnight, including door prizes and a 50/50 draw.

Check out for details on Liberatore’s head-shaving and demo event.

Chinese veterans awarded

Who says good deeds go unnoticed?

Monday’s favourite Chinese Canadian veterans, Gordon Quan and Andrew Wong, were honoured recently with both receiving the prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Quan appeared for a special award ceremony Fri., Aug. 31, at the Victoria City Council Chambers, where outgoing Victoria NDP MP Denise Savoie presented Quan and 24 other community members with the award. Wong, who is now recovering from a surgery, was unable to attend the ceremony, but received his medal at an earlier date.

The Diamond Jubilee Medal recognizes 60,000 Canadians of all ages for outstanding contributions to their community and country.

Best friends, Quan, 86, and Wong, 87, dedicated their lives to the Canadian military and war efforts, and were stationed around the world in the Canadian infantry and merchant marine navy divisions in the ’40s. As Monday reported in the Nov. 2 issue “Remember Us: Victoria’s Chinese Canadian soldiers tell of struggle, racism and honour in the war efforts,” both men fought proudly for their country through blatant racism, often for little more than $1 a day and a bowl of rice to do the job. Quan and Wong are lifelong members of the Canadian and Chinese Veterans Association and legion, and have become highly decorated for their achievements.

“I am proud to recognize the contributions of these individuals who have helped make Victoria the most liveable city in Canada,” Savoie said of the event, which also marked her last day in office, and last activity as MP before stepping down.

Other recipients included Raging Granny Freda Knott, author Alan Cassels, community activist Penny Tennenhouse, historic journalist Audrey Scammell, Puente Theatre’s Lina de Guevara and others. Awards were recommended by an independent four-person panel who worked closely with Savoie on the selection of the recipients. Each MP may award the medal to eligible constituents until the end of 2012.

Find out how to nominate an individual by visiting M