Posted on: 26 Jun 2015
Ontario Parents Advocating for Children with Cancer is a charity which provides support to families in hospital, at home, and throughout all stages of their child’s cancer journey. OPACC was created by parents to respond to these issues – to let them know they are never alone! Below is a story of 1 family and how they were touched by OPACC’s programs, including the Parent Liason Program, which your donations to Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation help fund.
OPACC is an organization made up of parents, friends, and family who have walked our paths before us. This is exactly what sets them apart from other organizations. They know and understand our journey when most of our loved ones cannot. They anticipate our needs before we anticipate our own.
Meals have come without asking and were a welcomed relief. Conversations were easy and without judgement. And friendships grew in the most unexpected ways. John, in particular, can always find a way to make Sachi smile through jokes or play. Over the span of a year it’s been quite amusing to see how the two of them have learned to greet one another by sticking out their tongues! These are the relationships which have eased our minds and helped us feel “normal” again.
There were moments at the hospital where our minds would head towards the dark side and without our Parent Liaisons, our journey could have been much longer and darker than it was. The support offered by OPACC has been invaluable to our family and so many other families whose lives this humble grassroots organization has touched. If that’s not enough, OPACC’s compilation of resources has kept us organized, taught us how to manage our emotional rollercoasters, and have kept us informed of events where we could go and have fun with the family in a safe zone. Families touched by childhood cancers are such a small community and OPACC has a vision to do so much more. It’s important that we all stay connected and support these kinds of initiatives in order to pay our experiences forward.
Posted on: 26 Jun 2015
Camp Trillium is one of 3 pediatric cancer camps in Ontario- a special place for children and families dealing with cancer. Your donations to Coast to Coast Against Cancer help support their amazing programs. Below is the story of the Tiessen family’s journey with cancer, and how Camp Trillium holds special place in their heart- thanks to you!
Camp Trillium is such a special place to our family. It is the best place in the world that you never want to be invited to. We have been going to camp since 2006 when our son, Cole, was diagnosed with Leukemia. Hearing this kind of news about your nine year old child is devastating. In the blink of an eye life changed, not only for Cole, but for the entire family. Cole was diagnosed as a very high risk ALL (leukemia) patient. This meant he had to undergo 25 months of chemotherapy and cranial radiation. Cole was in and out of the hospital quite a bit throughout the first year of his treatment program.
We remember the first time that we pulled up to Camp Trillium. The welcome that we received from the counselors was so warm and enthusiastic that as parents, it filled us with so much emotion and gratitude. We were going through something awful, and Camp Trillium felt like a place that was created just to help bring some joy and normalcy back to our family. Words could never express how grateful we are for the years of fun, kindness, and compassion that we have experienced at camp.
Camp Trillium has given us, as adults a great excuse to take some time to just play and have fun. It is a place that has something for everyone. No one ever feels left out at Camp Trillium and after missing school trips, cancelling family vacations and spending holidays in the hospital, which is worth more than most will ever understand. We can honestly say that every experience that we have had at camp has been a very positive one. We love the Camp Trillium morning radio show, the polar bear dip, campfires and of course the parent vs. counselors hockey game! When we pick up our kids from residential camp, the positive energy on the car ride home is infectious. Most special of all is the goodnight song. It has been over six years since we first heard the goodnight song and to this day Steve cannot listen to it without tears coming to his eyes.
To the counselors at camp – never underestimate what an important job you have. You have touched our lives in such a positive way. You are the greatest thing about the camp, what you do is special and you should be proud of yourselves. We have always said that the youth that work at camp are the cream of the crop. Our special friends have all been incredible people who were cheerfully willing to do whatever the kids wanted to do with them.
Camp Trillium has given our children so many awesome experiences. As our children have grown, they have wanted to keep Camp Trillium in their lives. Our oldest Luke, became a counselor last year; this year Cole (he is doing great by the way) and Monica are hoping to get accepted into the internship program; and, our youngest Sarah is saying that she too wants to be a counselor one day. Thank you Camp Trillium from the bottom of our hearts for the amazing experiences that you have given our family!!!
Posted on: 24 Jun 2015
Today’s 7 questions features someone who’s done it all- he’s an ambassador, volunteer, and rider! He’s ridden from Vancouver-Halifax, spun on stage at Bike for Tykes, and done Tour for Kids Ontario! A childhood cancer survivor himself, we’re glad to have him as a member of the Coast to Coast family.
1) Name: Josh Nelson
2) Hometown: Cambridge, Ontario
3) How long have you been involved with CTCACF, and how did you first get involved? I got involved in 2009, when I gave a speech to all the riders!
4) Why do you continue to be involved with CTCACF? I continue to be involved with CTCACF because when I was going through my cancer, they helped me. It’s because of them that I am the man I am today. Also, I believe in a destination beyond cancer!
5) What do you hope your work with CTCACF will accomplish? I hope that with my help, we will one day reach that destination beyond cancer!
6) If you could be a superhero, what would your superhero name be? My superhero name would be Wheely Man
7) If you could have dinner with 1 historical figure, who would it be, and why? I would love to have dinner with Rick Hansen- he is a huge inspiration and a hero to me.
8) Tell us something about you most people don’t know: I like puzzles, and I’m pretty good at them too.
9) Describe CTCACF in 3 words to someone who wants to know what it’s all about: Childhood Cancer Charity
Posted on: 18 Jun 2015
To All in the Coast to Coast Family,
We are all involved with this wonderful charity because we know or know of someone who, along with their family, is in desperate need. I got involved in 2010 because of my son’s classmate Laura Hillier and the Hillier family. She told her own story of becoming ill and recovering in 2010:
Sadly, a few weeks ago Laura relapsed and once again has AML. Laura is again faced with intensive chemotherapy but, this time, will also require a bone marrow transplant. It is critical that a suitable donor be found in the next several weeks. Nelson High and her former elementary school, Pineland, are rallying around the family. On Friday over 120 Nelson people registered at a rush Bone Marrow Donor clinic – those like Laura need many more. For some the odds are as large as 1 in 10,000.
Working with Rick Goldring, Burlington’s Mayor, and multiple others we mobilized on several fronts to encourage people to register for bone marrow and/or blood donation on behalf of Laura – but for all in need. According to the Canadian Blood Services, it takes 8 blood donors a week to support one leukemia patient let alone all others. A bone marrow donor test is a simple cheek swab.
You can help all by doing the above at any Canadian Blood Service clinic and, if anyone is attending the Burlington Sound of Music Festival this weekend (Hillier’s and my home town), drop by the Canadian Blood Services tent we have arranged (non-profit section) to say hello and send a note to Laura in a personalized Book of Wishes her friends made and we will have on hand.
Posted on: 17 Jun 2015
Coast to Coast Against Cancer supports a variety of charities through its fundraising events. These organizations provide support across the various aspects of childhood cancer- from family support, to camping, to research. YOU are helping make these programs possible through your support.
One of these great groups, a partner since 2011, is Ontario Parents Advocating for Children with Cancer (OPACC), whose overall goal is to be the parent voice for families with children diagnosed with cancer across the Province of Ontario. OPACC is made up of parents, guardians, survivors, or close relatives of children and teens diagnosed with childhood cancer. They provide support to families in hospital, at home, and throughout all stages of their child’s cancer journey. Childhood cancer has a devastating effect on parents, siblings, extended family, friends, and their communities. Those who survive often require ongoing psychosocial, physical, and financial support. OPACC was created by parents to respond to these issues – to let them know they are never alone!
Last year alone, over 850 families affected by childhood cancer were supported through OPACC. They currently average 140 new families per year. The programs that supported these families include:
Family Support Services
This is the program that donations to the Toronto Inside Ride National Tour stop supports! The Parent Liaison program at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto offers families of children with cancer in-hospital support and a wealth of free information and resources, including information on hospital services, parent support groups, weekly drop-ins, and one-on-one support for parents. Parent Liaisons are professionals and parents who have already undertaken a childhood cancer journey and understand the impact a diagnosis has on the entire family. As OPACC grows, the goal is to continue to establish more Parent Support Groups throughout Ontario, as well as bring the Parent Liaison Program to other Pediatric Cancer Centres.
OPACC works in collaboration with others across Ontario to build a network of community-based Parent Support Groups to ensure that families are supported both in hospital as well as back in their local communities. They support the growth and development of new and existing groups, and currently have groups in areas including Barrie, Kitchener-Waterloo, Newmarket, and Hamilton.
Through work in partnership with other childhood cancer and healthcare organizations from across the Province and at the National level, they are making a difference in the lives of children affected by cancer and their families. Some of the important topics that OPACC has and continues to advocate for include: E.I. legislation for benefits to Parents of Critically Ill Children; reduced hospital parking rates; representation for childhood cancer survivors in the latest Ontario Cancer Plan; supporting the educational needs of children with cancer.
The best way to sum up the impact of your donations and OPACC’s work is through the words of a parent: “Thank you so much for being there at the hospital all these weeks and months and years. You have always been such a source of comfort and reassurance for me.” -Jeanne Z.
Posted on: 13 Jun 2015
Sears Canada and Coast to Coast Against Cancer have a long history of working together to help children and families impacted by childhood cancer. We sat down with Alicia Richler, who is Director of the Sears Canada Charitable Foundation, to learn about how Sears became involved, and what makes the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride so special!
Sears Canada has been supporting charitable efforts since the Company was founded in 1953, with the singular focus of after school youth development. By the early 2000’s, they wanted to expand to a health related cause as well, and they discovered that childhood cancer is extremely underfunded. When Jeff Rushton, founder of CTCACF, was introduced to the leadership team at Sears they knew Sears was a match with our mission.
The Sears National Kids Cancer Ride was the first connection between Sears and childhood cancer, and they were drawn to the 100% donation model that sponsorship enabled- it meant that while they covered event costs, every receiptable donation made would go directly to making a difference in the lives of children and families impacted by childhood cancer!
Sears, being a national company, really wanted to partner with an event and cause that had a national impact. As the riders pedal across the country, they’re greeted by the many Sears Department, Home store, Hometown and catalogue locations in cities and small towns. These are places where riders are welcomed, fed, and made to feel at home on the road! Returning riders and volunteers have come to expect and look forward to seeing certain staff and being fed the same amazing meals year over year- this continual support makes the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride a family of participants and supporters.
Every year, Sears stores adopt a rider from the national team. When “their” rider comes into town, the staff get extremely excited to meet the person who they’ve supported through fundraising, and has really put a face on the event for them. This has been a great way to engage Sears staff with something outside of their day to day work with the company. The riders are also excited to meet their stores and staff, as well as all the children and families who come out to greet them.
Some of the national riders and volunteers who come back over and over again are Sears employees, and they keep us deeply connected. Carlo Di Domizio has either ridden or volunteered every year since 2008, and Ken Cross will be riding for his 5th year in 2015, having joined us after his daughter’s diagnosis of leukemia in 2008 (she’s doing great, 5 years after her bone marrow transplant). Carlo and Ken, among many other Sears employees, are strong members of the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride family.
There are also stores who are deeply involved in the cause. In Fredericton, Jill Painter spreads word of the event throughout the entire community, and involves the fire and police departments late at night in greeting the riders every year, making it a very memorable stop near the end of the ride every year! Alicia told the story of the group’s arrival at Sears in Fredericton after a long day in 2013, greeted by 2 little girls aged 3 ½ years old, who had become friends during treatment at the IWK Hospital in Halifax, and how their joy and enthusiasm helped melt away all the other things that happened that day. These are some of the things that make this ride so meaningful to riders, volunteers, and our Sears partners.
When asked to sum up Coast to Coast Against Cancer in 3 words, Alicia selected the famous words of Jeff Rushton: “Feel the love!”. And we certainly feel the love from Sears in their support of the national ride, and the foundation.
Posted on: 29 May 2015
1) Name: Johnny Dela Cruz
2) Hometown: Oro-Medonte, ON
3) How long have you been involved with CTCACF, and how did you first get involved: 2014 I did the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride. I got involved because of my husband’s nephew who battled cancer at the age of 3, and is now 11 and currently in remission!
4) Why do you continue to be involved with CTCACF: I continue to be involved with CTCACF because I strongly believe that we all deserve to live, and that the future of each child battling with cancer shouldn’t prevent them seeing the beauty of our world.
5) What do you hope your work with CTCACF will accomplish: I don’t hope- I know that CTCACF is making big difference each passing day to me, and to everyone around me. I know that because I heard from the families that I met during the ride, and I felt it from their words.
6) If you could be a superhero, what would your superhero name be: I don’t want to be superhero; I’d rather spend my time with people I love, and be with kids so that I can share laughter, sadness, and build a strong foundation for all kind of memories.
7) If you could have dinner with 1 historical figure, who would it be, and why: This sounds cheesy, but I would love to have dinner with my Mom one last time. Because of her I saw the world in very different way. Because of her strength I felt that my future wouldn’t end in my childhood. Because of her love I learn to love endlessly.
8) Tell us something about you most people don’t know: I came from poverty, in an isolated country farm in Manila.
9) Describe CTCACF in 3 words to someone who wants to know what it’s all about: my 3 words would be FAMILY, FRIENDSHIP, LOVE. That is what i felt when I came to ride for my first year. 3 weeks cycling, 3 weeks of memories, 3 weeks of sharing, 1 first day of meeting unknown people to share all that. I wouldn’t change a thing. I love every moment of it.
Posted on: 26 May 2015
UPDATED May 26, 2015 at 7:38 PM: THE DONATE OUTAGE WE WERE EXPERIENCING HAS BEEN FIXED. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE.
Please be advised that we are currently experiencing an outage related to our 3rd party credit card processing company. This means that we are unable to process credit card donations at this time- however, all other functions of our website are presently operational.
If you’ve attempted to make a donation, and been directed to a page saying to contact our organization for assistance, please wait a few hours and try again- we will also update this page when the issue has been repaired.
We regret any difficulties this outage may cause of donors and our riders, and we’re looking forward to getting this swiftly resolved.
If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will assist you.
The Coast to Coast Team
Posted on: 14 May 2015
The Cross family has been involved with the Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation for many years. In 2008, Megan Cross was diagnosed with AML leukemia and her parents were told that she had a 50/50 chance of surviving. Megan then relapsed and 5 years ago today, on May 14th 2010, she received a bone marrow transplant from her big sister Leah.
The Cross family consists of Dad Ken, Mom Colleen, and theirm3 daughters- Leah, Megan, and Emma. When Megan was 4 years old she was diagnosed with AML leukemia. Megan says she doesn’t remember it much- except playing in the hospital playroom, and the child life workers who kept her entertained and engaged while she was undergoing treatment. Megan’s 5 month treatment was all as an inpatient at Kingston General Hospital, which is where the family lives. While in the hospital, Ken and Colleen stayed with Megan 100% of the time; they were helped out immensely by family and friends and by coworkers of Colleen’s who also works at Kingston General Hospital.
When Megan was receiving chemo, Megan really struggled with food- the treatment destroyed her taste buds. She no longer craved sweet foods but she loved salty foods. Meg always enjoyed bacon! She ate a lot of bacon, , chicken fingers and pancakes. Due to her weight loss she nearly needed to have a feeding tube inserted; she really didn’t want it and when she was reminded she would eat a little more!
In February 2010, when she was 6, Megan was at a follow up appointment at the Cancer Clinic and her blood tests showed the cancer was back; 21 months into remission she relapsed. After 3 months of chemo at Kingston General Hospital Megan was transferred to Sick Kids in Toronto for a bone marrow transplant. Due to testing when Megan was first diagnosed we knew that her older sister Leah was a perfect match and would be her donor.
Megan remembers Sick Kids being very big, with lots of rooms to go too and really cool elevators! Megan spent her first week at Sick Kids getting very high doses of chemo so her body was prepared for the transplant. The transplant was easy for Megan; the hard part was for Leah. She was pretty sore for a couple of days but managed to run the bases as the Blue Jays game the next day and head out of a steak dinner—her favourite!
Although not usually allowed, due to isolation regulations, the doctors let Leah go see Megan while she was receiving the transplant. Megan was going to be in isolation for up to 30 days and she wasn’t going to be able to see her sister for a long time. Megan told Leah she couldn’t be grumpy anymore because she says she got Leah’s grumpy blood.
While Megan was in the hospital, Ken and Colleen balanced time staying with Megan in Toronto and looking after the kids back home. With two other children at home it took the help of many family and friends to ensure everything in Kingston was running smoothly. Staying at Sick Kids is very expensive; food and parking and daily necessities added up quickly. They were helped out immensely by the meal allowance provided by the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario and the Kids Cancer Fund established at KGH by parents in the paediatric oncology unit.
The other organization that has really helped the Cross family is Camp Trillium- the kids go to the Garrets Island camp every year- the youngest of them, Emma, began going to camp last summer with her older sisters and now it’s a sister tradition. Megan loves going to camp, because she gets to see all of her friends that have moved way, and make new friends- she also really likes the camp counsellors.
When asked to provide words of wisdom for other families just starting their cancer journey, Leah said: “It’s going to be a long and bumpy ride, but through the journey, you’ll experience so many different things, some good, some bad. You’re going to meet amazing people and amazing families going through exactly what you are. You’re going to find so many supports you didn’t even know were there, and through it all you’ll have a little kick that will keep you going.”
Since Megan’s diagnosis, Ken Cross has ridden across the country in the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride 4 times, and is doing it again this year, to make it 5. In those years, Ken has raised close to $250,000 for the foundation through the Sears National Ride and the Inside Ride events in the Kingston Area. Leah has participated in several Inside Rides- her school raised over $18,000 at their 2015 event! The Cross family is an amazing part of the Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation community.
Posted on: 10 May 2015
1) Name: Jamie Layfield
2) Hometown: Clarkson
3) How long have you been involved with CTCACF, and how did you first get involved?
I’ve been involved 13 years, I rode with Jeff and Kevin in 2002 for part of the inaugural C2C ride. I then participated in the full 2003 Coast to Coast with Jeff, Kevin, Scott, Freddy and Hamish. I have done 13 tour for kids, 10 Ontario, 2 Atlantic, and 1 Alberta.
4) Why do you continue to be involved with CTCACF?
It’s a great organization that puts on fun, challenging and inspirational events that allow me to give back to the community.
I am also so proud of the 100% donation model and all of the volunteers and great people that come out every year to support the camps! Tour for Kids is always a highlight of my year. Oh and I met my wife because of the Tour for Kids!
5) What do you hope your work with CTCACF will accomplish?
Since the very beginning when a young cancer survivor explained why her time at camp was so valuable to her and her family, I knew I wanted to help as many kids with cancer experience what she had. I attended one of the camps with my family and saw firsthand the positive impact these organizations are making to children and their families.
6) If you could be a superhero, what would your superhero name be?
7) If you could have dinner with 1 historical figure, who would it be, and why?
The guy who invented the traffic light, I’d like to explain to him why roundabouts are superior.
8) Tell us something about you most people don’t know:
I am actually only 5’5 and 7/8″ not 5’6″
9) Describe CTCACF in 3 words to someone who wants to know what it’s all about:
Feel the Love