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Winnipeg Ghostbusters celebrate record-breaking fundraising year for Children's Hospital

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A fandom-fueled charity cosplay group is celebrating a landmark year of fundraising thanks to the generosity of Winnipeggers.

The Winnipeg Ghostbusters are a local chapter of a worldwide charitable movement based on the popular 1980s film of the same name. Co-founder Kris Rutherford says the group started as a bunch of like-minded fans Ghostbusters fans who just wanted to make a difference through cosplay, prop making, and generally celebrating the franchise.

The group makes appearances at various events around the province – like Winnipeg Comiccon – raising money by offering photo opportunities in exchange for a donation to the Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg.

Rutherford said the Winnipeg Ghostbusters have had an incredible year, raising a total of $16,650 in donations for the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba.

"When we started doing this seven years ago, we never imagined we'd be bringing in double-digit numbers like that. It's crazy, like we did almost two to three times what we did last year," said Rutherford.

He said the group does strive to improve their displays in order to garner more donations. Over the years, the group has acquired an impressive collection of Ghostbusters memorabilia, including a 25-foot Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

"We try to get creative every year and know what works, what doesn't work. Let's build on what worked last year and go from there," Rutherford explained.

Rutherford attributed the success of their fundraising efforts to the enduring appeal of the Ghostbusters franchise. "It's always been a part of me. I don't know what my first introduction to it was – the cartoons or the movies. But it's always been a part of who I am," Rutherford said.

He says they raised a good chunk of the money through a special Ghostbusters Day celebration at the Park Theatre in June, featuring screenings of the first two movies. The event offered photo opportunities with a real-life Ecto-1 car and garnered significant support from local businesses.

Rutherford says much of the money raised will go towards upgrades at the hospital.

“Previous years they were trying to upgrade the heart centre for the kids that come in that have heart issues so they don't have to travel as far,” said Rutherford. “I believe this year their big thing is to get upgraded operation rooms done, because there's a backlog from the pandemic.”

He says the Winnipeg Ghostbusters have exciting plans for the future, including events tied to the upcoming 40th anniversary of the film in 2024. Rutherford is excited to try and beat this year’s fundraising number.

"We're really hoping that we can bust through and maybe hit $20,000 next year. Let's get everybody in Winnipeg and the province behind us and hit that goal!"

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