Irving Oil's Fuel the Care Marks 10th Anniversary

Program helps cover the fuel costs for families who are required to travel for their children's medical care

HALIFAX, Sept. 26, 2011 /CNW/ - This year, Irving Oil's Fuel the Care program marked its 10th anniversary. Over the past decade, Fuel the Care has provided fuel gift cards to over 35,000 families with children who require medical care throughout Atlantic Canada and New England.

In January 2008, Joe and his wife Christa gave birth to quadruplets — two girls, Julia and Morah and two boys, Alex and Ben. The children were born at just 29 weeks and needed immediate, round-the-clock care. They were admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which is two hours away from the MacKinnons' home in the Annapolis Valley.

Joe and Christa took turns staying at the hospital, spending as much time as they could with their babies. Irving Oil's Fuel the Care program not only allowed the MacKinnons to travel for their babies' healthcare, but also to bring their son, Matthew, who was at home waiting to meet his siblings. After 100 days, the MacKinnon family was reunited and at home once again after such an incredible journey and countless hundreds of kilometers. The four babies, who were all born weighing just a little over a kilogram each, are now running around the house as healthy three and a half year olds.

"Life was already busy with our older boy Matthew, who is autistic and requires our full love and support," Joe MacKinnon said. "We had not heard of Fuel the Care until Heather Prosser, our wonderful social worker, told us about the program. We were beyond excited when we found out how Fuel the Care could help us with the cost of our daily travel back and forth to the hospital."

"The love and devotion of our friends, family, Heather and the Fuel the Care program allowed our family to stay together. Families are stronger when they are together. It helps your little ones grow and get stronger," added Joe.

Fuel the Care is administered to families in Nova Scotia through social workers and hospital administrators at the IWK Health Centre. With many families facing monthly travel costs of several hundred dollars for accommodation, food and other necessities, Fuel the Care gives them one less thing to worry about. "The program has been a beacon of hope for many of our patient families," said Heather Prosser, Social Worker at the IWK Health Centre.

Four additional hospitals participate in the Fuel the Care program in Atlantic Canada and New England: the Saint John Regional Hospital in Saint John, NB; the Janeway Child Health and Rehabilitation Centre in St. John's, NL; EMHS in Maine and the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (CHaD) in New Hampshire.

"Many of us have seen how devastating it is for a family when a child becomes ill. We know Fuel the Care does not solve all of their worries when their children face illness, but it does allow them to have one less thing to be concerned about," said Mike Ashar, President of Irving Oil. "Over the last ten years we have received tremendous, positive feedback from Fuel the Care families. So as the program continues to grow, we are proud to offer this service to ease the burden on families in communities throughout Nova Scotia."

About Fuel the Care

Since 2002, Irving Oil's Fuel the Care program has helped over 35,000 families throughout Atlantic Canada and New England. The program provides fuel gift cards to parents who must frequently travel to provide their children with urgent medical care. In addition to providing families with over $2 million in fuel gift cards, Fuel the Care has also provided $350,000 in funding for research into childhood diseases. For more information about Fuel the Care, visit www.facebook.com/irvingoil.

About Irving Oil

Irving Oil was founded in 1924 and is a privately owned regional refining and marketing company with a history of long-term partnerships and relationships. Irving Oil operates Canada's largest refinery, in Saint John NB, which is located 65 miles north of the US border and has reached production rates in excess of 300,000 barrels per day. The refinery exports over 80 per cent of its production to the US and accounts for 75 per cent of Canada's gasoline exports to the US and 19 per cent of all US gasoline imports. In 2003, Irving Oil became the first oil company to receive a US Environmental Protection Agency Clean Air Excellence Award, for its clean gasoline. For more information about Irving Oil, visit www.irvingoil.com.

SOURCE Irving Oil Limited

For further information:

Lesley Dickson
Irving Oil
(506) 202-3924
lesley.dickson@irvingoil.com

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