Cancer diagnosis leads Calgary auctioneer to look for bids on his own company

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Cancer diagnosis leads Calgary auctioneer look for bids on his own company
A well-known Calgary auctioneer has decided to sell off his business...after receiving a terminal diagnosis. As Carolyn Kury de Castillo reports the fast talker is determined to make the most of his time left, with many in the community coming out to support him. – Sep 24, 2023

Wayne Ollive is a soft-spoken guy by nature but he’s an expert fast talker.

He’s been an auctioneer since his days growing up in Stettler, Alta., when he was noticed by McLaren Auction in Calgary.

“They heard me at a Ducks Unlimited sale and they had me start coming down once a week back in 1985,” Ollive said.

He went on to start his own auction company,  Ollive’s Auction, and he’s been running Radar’s Rentals, renting equipment for events. But this week, Ollive will be auctioning off his own businesses.

In April of this year,  Ollive found out he has lung cancer.

“Even though I’ve been told it’s terminal, I’m going to try and fight it every day and take it day by day,” he said.

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Despite the devastating news, Ollive calls himself fortunate.  He says his experience in the health-care system was “amazing”  but he’s also thankful because he has time to prepare and make things easier for his two kids.

“I have a will and I thought I was extremely organized that way. I’m so far from it, it’s not even funny. I just want to sell everything and make it really easy and simple for them,” Ollive said.

Being in the party rental business, he has had an impact on many people in southern Alberta, from Christmas markets in  Banff and Millarville to marathons.

Calgary city councillor Terry Wong knows Ollive from his days working with the Chinatown BIA.

“He’s a great guy. Anytime we’ve had anything to be done in Chinatown for the street festivals, he’s been very accommodating,” Wong said on Sunday.

Jolene Brewster is the founder of the Banff Christmas market.  She calls Ollive very friendly and kind and said he was always willing to drop everything to help with complicated events that had limited power and water.

“Wayne always helped navigate things and handled it perfectly and we became friends over the years. His work and life seamlessly interconnected,” Brewster said.

Many in the community have come forward since word of Ollive’s health got out.

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“I’m very fortunate to have some very good friends and family and a lot of customers, whether it be from Radar’s Rentals or the auction company. They’re just amazing. All of a sudden, I’m finding out all kinds of stories of other people who have had cancer, which I did not know — and lots of survivors,” Ollive said.

“I have to slow down and start enjoying life instead of going 24 hours (a day), seven days a week — or whatever it was taking to do it. Get rid of stress.  I think stress is a big cause of health issues.”

Since the pandemic, many live auctions have moved online and that will be the case with all the equipment at Radar’s Rentals. But Ollive plans to still dabble in the old art of auctioneering.

“I really enjoy it and you get to meet so many great people,” he said. “I think it would be very good exercise for my lungs is my thinking.”

There will be three auctions to sell all the products from Radar’s Rentals. The first one is on Sept.  27.

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