Scotiabank gives $500,000 for Alberta families facing childhood cancer

CALGARY, Oct. 15 /CNW/ - Two Calgary mothers Dawn Wallin and Margaret Taylor and their daughters Ryane and Madison paid a visit to Scotiabank today to thank George Marlatte, Senior Vice-President, Prairie Region, for the company's $500,000 donation to the Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta.

The gift comes to the Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta through the Reach! campaign, a joint fundraising initiative between the University of Calgary, Alberta Health Services and the Calgary Health Trust, and will be directed to the Kids Cancer Care Foundation's Family Care Program.

The Family Care Program is a comprehensive initiative that provides children with cancer, their siblings and their parents with opportunities to connect with other families facing childhood cancer. The focus is to provide information, care and comfort to these families during their family crisis. It is uniquely designed to give families the tools they need to cope with their child's cancer at each stage - from diagnosis through treatment and, sometimes, bereavement.

The Family Care Program includes numerous activities such as weekly Pizza Nights at the Alberta Children's Hospital and the Foundation's biannual Family Camps. Through these family-oriented events, Alberta families find the friendships, encouragement and support they need to navigate what is often a frightening and lonely cancer journey.

"It was very hard," said Margaret Taylor, whose six-year-old daughter Madison was diagnosed with cancer at 13 months. "We were alone for three years. We barely went on family outings because we were afraid Madie would catch something. Now we have this incredible friendship with Dawn and Robb and an amazing community through the Kids Cancer Care Foundation."

"When your child has cancer everything stops," said Dawn Wallin, whose five-year-old daughter Ryane was diagnosed with Wilm's tumour two years ago. "Christmas, birthdays, career, sports, music lessons, family barbeques, holidays. It all stops. We spent all our time either at the hospital or juggling work, so we were very isolated and scared. Then Ryane and Madie met at Family Camp. They said hello and that was it; they've been best friends ever since. Now our families do family barbeques and vacations together. It's wonderful."

"At Scotiabank we focus our health-related contributions on programs that will make a meaningful difference to people at the local community level," said Scotiabank's George Marlatte, who was also presented with an oversized, homemade thank you card by the girls. "We were drawn to the Family Care Program through stories like those of Ryane's and Madison's families, and are very pleased to have the opportunity to support the Kids Cancer Care Foundation and a program that is there to help families through one of the most difficult times imaginable - a child's cancer diagnosis and treatment. The best news of all is that the future is looking very bright indeed for Ryane and Madison."

"This is an amazing gift to Alberta families," said Christine Wandzura, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta. "Children and families need a supportive community to get through this illness and we are so grateful to Scotiabank for their generosity and foresight. This generous gift will help us keep these programs alive and well and Alberta families healthy for years to come."

ABOUT THE KIDS CANCER CARE FOUNDATION OF ALBERTA

The Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta (KCCFA) is a charitable organization that helps Alberta families facing childhood cancer by providing programs and funding in four areas: camp; research; hospital programs; and scholarships.

ABOUT SCOTIA BANK

Scotiabank is committed to supporting the communities in which we live and work, both in Canada and abroad. Recognized as a leader internationally and among Canadian corporations for its charitable donations and philanthropic activities, in 2008 the Bank provided about $43 million in sponsorships and donations to a variety of projects and initiatives, primarily in the areas of healthcare, education, social services and arts and culture. Visit Scotiabank at www.scotiabank.com.

About Reach!

Reach! was the joint fundraising initiative between the University of Calgary, Alberta Health Services and the Calgary Health Trust designed to raise targeted philanthropic dollars to build on excellence within Calgary's existing health system. Since its launch in October 2005, over 900 generous philanthropists committed more than $312 million in philanthropic support to bring our community 100+ medical initiatives, including new health care facilities, innovative research and improved patient care. Reach! formally ended June 2009 although recognition of gifts made to Reach! continues.

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: Photos accompanying this release will be available later today on the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited members of the media/

SOURCE Scotiabank - Sponsorships & Donations

For further information: For further information: Gail Corbett, Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta, (403) 984-1221, cell (403) 613-4382; Christine Wandzura, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta, (403) 984-6210, cell (403) 850-1209; Deborah Spence, Scotiabank Public Affairs, (403) 601-4855, (403) 612-3317


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