A special message from our Chair, Corinne Eiriksson:
Dear Friend of OPACC,Our annual Holiday Gold Ribbon Campaign raises funds essential to the invaluable work of our organization supporting childhood cancer families.
As an OPACC member, you understand first-hand the unique challenges of having a child with cancer and the tremendous emotional, physical, and financial toll it takes on a family. When you needed it the most, OPACC was there for you or someone you love.
As an OPACC supporter, you already appreciate the unique challenges of having a child with cancer and the tremendous emotional, physical, and financial toll it takes on a family.
OPACC has made a profound difference for us as well. As an organization created by parents for parents, we know the value of connecting with others who have been there, heard the same words, and experienced the same trauma of a childhood cancer diagnosis. Whether we benefited from the Parent Liaison program in hospital or started out attending a community support group, we are childhood cancer parents too. Many of us on the Board of Directors, the Parent Liaisons, Support Group Facilitators, and our volunteers have walked in those shoes and down those same halls. As childhood cancer parents, we have seen the difference OPACC makes in the lives of families. We believe strong families start with strong parents, and strong parents need support too. OPACC is there to help in the here and now.
My own family heard those fateful words, “Your child has cancer,” in 2012 when my son, Jamshid, was diagnosed with Stage 4 High Risk Neuroblastoma. At that time there was no OPACC presence in our community. My family needed to know that what we felt was in fact terrible and completely normal. I didn’t have a support group of parents who had gone before me to turn to for guidance and a loving, knowing embrace. I found OPACC through meeting an OPACC Board Member. I learned about OPACC programming and jumped on board immediately by starting a parent support group in my community. I knew that I had to make sure that OPACC was there for all “cancer parents” in Ontario and accompanying these families has made my experience count for something.
Our peer-to-peer approach is our strength and what makes us unique. We aim to ensure that no family feels lost or isolated. In 2019, we have provided support through our various programs to over 1,000 families, including:
Establishing a gift cards amenities fund to provide our in-hospital families with gift cards for necessities such as gas and groceries;
Organizing our second annual OPACC Hearts of Gold fundraising gala in Mississauga;
Featuring a special guest speaker at our Annual General Meeting, who presented on “Parenting Through Crisis”;
Bringing awareness of childhood cancer by being a part of various Childhood Cancer Awareness Month events in September, including events at Credit Valley Hospital, Centenary Hospital, and SickKids;
Organizing a special group visit for our teens and their families to Canada’s Wonderland this summer;
Partnering with Love Your Melon to support our Parent Liaison program’s in-hospital family support resources;
Hosting three childhood cancer parent retreats;
Providing grants to support our community-based local parent support groups...and more!
Sadly, as more children are diagnosed with different childhood cancers around Ontario, more parents will hear those same fateful words, “Your child has cancer,” “Your child’s cancer has returned,” and, like mine, “There’s nothing more we can do.”
With your donation, we can make a lasting difference for families for the long-term and bring OPACC to more communities. Even when childhood cancer is gone, we are still there. OPACC is solely supported through the donations of a generous community.
In this season of giving, when you make your donation, please share what we do with your friends, family and colleagues. We challenge you to find 3 friends who will join you in supporting OPACC this year. Did you know that only $250 will send a parent to one of our parent retreats? $100 can help a family with our gift card fund. $50 can help a family pay for a 5-use hospital parking pass.
We thank you for sharing our Gold Ribbon Campaign. When you’re thinking of the perfect gift for that special someone, make a donation in their name. The Holidays are brighter when families are together. Too many childhood cancer families are separated due to travel for treatments, hospital admissions, or worse. Let them know you are there for them.
When my son was diagnosed, my world fell apart. When I found OPACC, I discovered the tools to put it back together. Thank you for being there for families like mine.
Any amount helps! Here are just some suggestions:
$30 can sponsor a coffee service for in-hospital families
$50 can sponsor a hospital parking pass for a family
$100 can sponsor the purchase of gift cards for necessities such as gas, groceries and dining to give to a newly diagnosed family
$250 can send a parent to one of our parent retreats
In addition, you can choose to publicly dedicate your donation in honour or in memory of someone special. Just let us know your short message (i.e. "in memory of"; "in honour of"; "from the XYZ family"; etc.) in the "Message for OPACC" box below and we'll include it in a virtual gold ornament for all to see on the campaign page on our website until the end of the campaign on December 31, 2019. Thank you!