Paul and Sharan Narang of Abbotsford recently held their annual event for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, raising more than $71,000.  Submitted photo

Paul and Sharan Narang of Abbotsford recently held their annual event for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, raising more than $71,000. Submitted photo

Abbotsford couple raises $71,000 for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Paul and Sharan Narang hold 12th annual event at Elements Casino in Surrey

An Abbotsford couple who own seven Bell Mobility locations in the Fraser Valley recently raised more than $71,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

Paul and Sharan Narang held their 12th annual fundraiser at Elements Casino in Surrey on Nov. 10. The event, which included a night of dancing, was attended by 300 people.

The couple has a close connection to Type 1 diabetes, and decided to raise money for the JDRF starting in 2008.

They asked about 20 friends to join them at a local pub for dinner, and invited them to each donate $10 for the cause. They also raffled off a few Starbucks cards and raised a total of $500.

Sharan said their friends had such a good time that they asked the couple to do it again.

“Since then, we have watched our small pub night go from 20 friends to 50 to 100, and now we have capped off our guest list at 300 people, all local business owners and professionals,” she said.

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Their fundraising total has also climbed each year, with a total of just over $291,000 collected in 12 years. They have been the top fundraiser for the JDRF in the last six or seven years.

The first 10 events were held at Phoenix Ballroom in Abbotsford (which has since closed down), and the last two have been at Elements Casino.

Sharan said every penny collected goes to the JDRF, and they now have more than 60 sponsors that donate $500. She estimates that about 90 per cent of the sponsors are from Abbotsford.

“This event is by far a community effort. We are absolutely blessed to be surrounded by so many generous people,” she said.

Tickets for the event are a minimum $40 donation at the door.

Planning is now underway for the 13th annual event next fall, and Sharan said anyone who would like to donate raffle items can contact her at sharan@mysmartwireless.ca.

Paul and Sharan own three Bell Mobility locations in Abbotsford and one each in Burnaby, Surrey, Aldergrove and Mission.