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Vancouver gay night club holds fundraiser to benefit Orlando shooting victims

This combination of photos shows some of the dozens of those killed in a mass shooting early Sunday, June 12, 2016 at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla.
This combination of photos shows some of the dozens of those killed in a mass shooting early Sunday, June 12, 2016 at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla. AP Photo

One of Vancouver’s most popular gay clubs is holding a fundraiser this Friday to benefit the victims of a deadly shooting at a crowded gay night club in Orlando last weekend.

Forty-nine people were killed and 53 others injured when a gunman opened fire inside Pulse Nightclub in Florida early Sunday morning.

Brandon Folkes, the general manager of The Odyssey Bar and Nightclub at Hastings and Granville, says he cried when he heard the news.

“It was such a shock,” says Folkes. “It’s something that you would not think would happen in 2016. It seems like something we have progressed beyond, especially with the [same-sex] marriage being legalized in the United States and around the world. It’s definitely a wake-up call.”

After the tragedy, Folkes felt the need to do something to help support the gay community in Orlando.

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An idea for a fundraiser was born, with the goal of donating 100 per cent of cover and liquor profits toward an online fundraising campaign for the victims, which has already raised nearly $5 million.

“Essentially we are writing the night off,” says Folkes. “All profits will be donated.”

So far, he says they have lined up more than 25 performers and the Vancouver Queer Film Festival will be showing a few short films in commemoration of the victims earlier in the night.

Folkes says they have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.

“Lots of people are sharing the event’s page online and messaging to tell us they are coming,” he says. “The amount of support from the community has been unbelievable. It’s really heartfelt.”

The fundraiser starts at 9 p.m. on Friday. Entry is by donation. For more information on the event, go here.

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