Canadian Woodworking

Woodturners Support Cancer Research

Author: Glen Friesen
Photos: Glen Friesen
Published: February March 2011
woodturners for cancer
woodturners for cancer

A Saskatoon group is up to the challenge … how about the rest of Canada?


One does not have to do a lot of research to be aware that can­cer is a pervasive and deadly disease. More research needs to be done to control and eradicate this disease and to achieve this end, additional funding is necessary to support vital research. To contribute to this effort, a group of woodturners in Saskatchewan has devoted a weekend to sharing turning skills, as well as raising funds to support cancer research.

The event started as a class con­ducted through the Saskatchewan Woodworkers’ Guild and held at Larry Matisho’s shop in Saskatoon with Trent Watts as the instructor. We met in this fashion for several years until Larry suddenly contracted cancer and passed away in 2005. At that time, we decided to continue the event and turn in Larry’s honour. Instead of paying a registration fee for the class, writing a cheque to the Canadian Cancer Society was the only cost to attend.

With Larry’s passing, a new venue was needed. Support came from the Prairie Spirit School Division, and more specifically, Waldheim School (where I teach Industrial Arts). We have named our event “The Matisho Memorial” and continue to attract new turners and raise funds for cancer research. At the 2010 event, the 31 people in attendance raised just over $3000. This is a great way for us to remember not only Larry but all of the people we know that have had or have succumbed to this disease.

Plans are well underway for the 2011 version. We will be getting together in Waldheim on the 19th and 20th of March, 2011. If you would like to attend, let us know in advance and we will find space for you. Most bring their own lathe and tools but we have access to a few extra lathes if needed.

Can’t make it to Waldheim? It would be really exciting if the turning com­munity across Canada would consider hosting their own versions of “The Matisho Memorial”. By doing this, the amount we could contribute to the cancer society would be limitless. It’s an excellent way to contribute to society as well as raise the profile of woodcraft.

The form your event takes is up to you. If you would like to use what we have done as a model for your fund raiser, all the information is at our website, A YouTube search for “Matisho Memorial” will also provide four short video clips that we posted after last year’s event. Get your group together, pick a date and host an event. It’s a lot of fun, as well as being a very rewarding experience. Then, share with everyone what you’ve done. Get the local media involved and make people aware that, as a group of turners, we can make a difference.


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  2. Hi,I am trying to get hold of Glen Friesen.Does anyone have a contact phone number?Much appreciated,thanks.

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