THE ENTERTAINMENT SIDE OF FIGHTING CANCER | FEATURING ROBERT “THE HITMAN” GORICAN
Tuesday December 13, 2016
Article By: Luis Parades
The Fight To End Cancer has been a continued success over the past five years. This is all due to the hard work and dedication put forward by our staff and amazing team of volunteers. When the gala is complete, the work certainly isn’t – our team goes right back to planning for the next year.
One of the amazing people working to make Fight To End Cancer bigger and better every year is Robert Gorican. Robert is our Production Director, and a proud Fight To End Cancer Alumni. He knows very well the grueling work that every new class of fighters goes through every year, as he fought in the second edition of the Fight To End Cancer. That year he fought for his late mother, as well as for everyone else who is fighting the battle of their lives. He also set the entertainment bar incredibly high when he literally sang his way into the ring… highlighting just one more of his incredible talents.
Robert Gorcican did not want to stop fighting after his match in 2013, so he started looking for more ways to get involved in the Fight To End Cancer organization as a whole. This lead him to become our Production Director, and because of all of his hard work we are that much closer to our goal of ending cancer forever.
MEET ROBERT GORICAN | PRODUCTION DIRECTOR
How did you get involved with Fight To End Cancer?
It actually happened only by chance. Back in January 2013 I was visiting local businesses in the area to collect items for a silent auction I was organizing for my theatre company. Jennifer had helped us out in the past with donations but I hadn’t seen her in about a year or two so I decided to re-connect. When I walked into the gym she didn’t even recognize me, which is understandable since I had dropped about 70 pounds since we last saw each other. During our conversation she mentioned she was in the middle of organizing the 2nd Fight To End Cancer event and was still looking for one more fighter to complete the team. Then she got that look in her eye – anyone who knows Jennifer knows that look. She asked if I had ever thought about stepping in the ring and in the next 20 minutes I was persuaded to do just that. The next few months were a whirlwind which affected me so deeply – all the training, stepping into that ring, being a part of a new team and a new family – it was all more than I had ever expected and I couldn’t just walk away from it after the event ended.
Why is the Fight To End Cancer important to you?
The Fight To End Cancer is important to me for many reasons. As many people, I have seen the effects that cancer has had not only on family members but also on people around me. My inspiration has always been my mother – she was a fighter her entire life growing up in Europe after the war, emigrating to Canada, and making a new life here raising 3 boys. Never did she fight harder than her battle with multiple myeloma which took her from us in 2009. Since then cancer has affected others close to me – it’s a constant struggle which almost seems to have no end, which is why Fight To End Cancer is so very important. We need to do everything we possibly can to put an end to this terrible disease and this event does so much toward that – creating awareness, raising funds, and building a team and family to take on the fight. Building a strong team is crucial because as a single person we can feel overwhelmed, but with others on our team we have so much more to bring to this fight – we truly are stronger together. I have never been more hopeful that we will see a cure for cancer in our lifetime and instead of being left with only enjoying memories, we will be enjoying more time with our loved ones.
I am the Production Director for Fight To End Cancer and have been since 2014. Having a long background in live theatre direction and production really helps me out with this role. My official description is that I work alongside the event committee in the planning and coordination of the event to ensure its success. In practice I work very closely with Jennifer in the planning of all the different areas to see that things run smoothly on the day of the event. We basically start working on the next event as soon as the current one wraps up so there is little down time. I’m so lucky and proud to work with the people on our committee – each one of them professional and passionate about the cause. All the lead up and planning is really only half of my job – the other half is the event day itself. This is when all our hard work is finally revealed – in the theatre world it is our opening night and closing night all in one! Working together with our Stage Manager – Julie Van Duzen Nantes (the absolute BEST in the business!), we ensure that the night goes off as smoothly as possible and all the elements are in synch. For this one night of the year I also get to direct Jennifer by ensuring she can enjoy the event and witness first-hand what all of her hard work has created. I can’t thank her enough for including me on this journey, for honoring me with her trust, and for her unwavering friendship.
Can you tell us a little bit about a day in the life for you?
I’m a Food & Beverage Manager with Canlan Icesports in North York. Our facility consists of 6 ice pads and is home to many organizations. I am responsible for a 400 seat restaurant (which overlooks 3 ice pads), a concession stand, and ongoing catering events, parties, and tournaments throughout the year. Needless to say this keeps me quite busy as a typical day can run into 10 to 12 hours. I’m still involved in the local community theatre world and as time permits will direct, produce, or be onstage for a production. When I can, I will try new restaurants or new food offerings as we are so fortunate here in Toronto in terms of the many choices available. I also enjoy a good cup of coffee and will go out of my way to find it – that’s my Viennese background coming into play. A truly great day though, will include a trip to the gym where I can blow off some steam and although I haven’t gotten back into my routine at Kingsway Boxing Club yet, I purchased a heavy bag for our gym at work to stay active.
Robert has put countless hours and hard work into the Fight To End Cancer. We couldn’t be more grateful to have him on the team as he is such an important part of our FTEC Family! We are always looking for more people ready to take on the fight and if you’re interested please Contact Us and Volunteer! Together we can end cancer once and for all!