SickKids Foundation honours young heroes at Kids Believe in SickKids Giving Gala



    TORONTO, Nov. 20 /CNW/ - SickKids Foundation is celebrating National
Child Day by honouring young heroes who embrace the spirit of giving by
raising money for The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). More than
200 children and youth will be honoured for their fundraising efforts at the
Kids Believe in SickKids Giving Gala on Tuesday, November 20, 2007, hosted by
Luba Goy, star of CBC's Royal Canadian Air Farce.
    A lemonade stand, a fun fair, a car wash and a first communion were among
the creative ways that children raised money for SickKids. Collectively, the
winners' efforts raised more than $100,000. While only four awards will be
handed out at the second annual event, the efforts of all of the children in
the Kids Believe in SickKids program will be celebrated at the Giving Gala.
    "It's amazing to see all these children, no matter how old they are,
embracing SickKids Foundation as their charity of choice," explained Paula
Roberts, Vice-President, SickKids Foundation. "We pride ourselves on being a
leader in encouraging philanthropy, especially in children. We believe that
healthier children lead to a better world and what better way to help sick
children than to encourage other children to fundraise on their behalf."

    
    This year's winners include:

      -   Spirit Award - Jack Yeilding, 5
          Jack's Lemonade Stand - $14,435

          Jack is a five-year-old boy with intractable epilepsy - a type of
          epilepsy that does not respond to medication. He was experiencing
          several daily seizures which took a toll on his young body. His
          mother, Jodi, wanted Jack to take control of his health and
          well-being and thought that by involving him in philanthropy would
          show him that his epilepsy could also have a positive effect on his
          life. It started with some small pocket change and grew to an
          annual event in Oakville, Ontario. Jack's Lemonade Stand raised
          more than $14,435 for epilepsy research at SickKids.

      -   Top Fundraising Individual - Shania Johnston, 9 (posthumously)
          Shania's Sunflower of Hope - $63,230

          Shania was diagnosed with neuroblastoma - a cancer of the nervous
          system - in June 2006. She decided that she wanted to help other
          kids also faced with cancer and within weeks, designed bracelets to
          sell in support of SickKids Foundation. This then-seven-year-old
          girl who loved sunflowers decided that making bracelets was not
          raising enough money. Shania's Sunflower of Hope, a fun fair at the
          Markham Fairgrounds, was created and collectively with the
          bracelets, she raised $63,230 for neuroblastoma research at
          SickKids. Though she passed away in July 2007, she has left a
          lasting legacy that continues to inspire her family, friends and
          community.

      -   Top Fundraising Group - Islamic Foundation of Toronto (school)
          Islamic Foundation of Toronto fundraisers - $25,000

          High school students at the Islamic Foundation of Toronto wanted to
          help kids who were faced with illness and trauma. Two of their
          fellow classmates were severely injured in a car accident and spent
          several weeks recovering at SickKids. They decided to host several
          events to raise money for SickKids including a car wash, pin
          selling event, raffle tickets and a potluck dinner. The students at
          the Islamic Foundation of Toronto raised $25,000.

      -   Top Tribute Donation - Anthony and Sophia DiGiorgio (7 and 9
          respectively)
          Anthony and Sophia DiGiorgio's first communion - $4,180

          Anthony DiGiorgio is a seven-year-old boy from Woodbridge and is a
          patient in the Opthalmology clinic at SickKids. Along with his
          sister, Sophia, 9, and their family, they started planning the
          siblings' first communion. The DiGiorgios have always taught their
          children the importance of giving to others and were thrilled to
          learn that their children chose to donate their gifts received at
          their first communion to SickKids. Anthony and Sophia DiGiorgio
          donated $4,180 to SickKids' highest priority needs.
    

    Since its inception in 2005, almost 1,000 children have joined our
ever-growing Family of Heroes by participating in the Kids Believe in SickKids
program. The SickKids Family of Heroes encompasses the children and their
families, doctors and nurses, researchers and other SickKids staff and
community supporters that have all embraced SickKids through their spirit of
giving.
    The Kids Believe in SickKids program has raised more than $600,000 for
children's health care. Funds raised by the program are designated to the
highest priority needs established by the hospital each year. Last year, many
areas of the hospital were supported by these funds including vital research
projects and the play area of the surgical day care unit. To learn more about
the program, please visit: www.sickkidsfoundation.com/kidsbelieve.

    About SickKids Foundation:
    --------------------------
    In September 2005, SickKids Foundation launched the largest fundraising
campaign for a hospital in Canadian history with a goal of $500 million to be
reached by 2011. SickKids Foundation was established in 1972. Its mission is
to inspire its communities to invest in health and scientific advances to
improve the lives of children and their families in Canada and around the
world. Its vision is "Healthier children. A better world."





For further information:

For further information: Lori Gilis, SickKids Foundation, e:
lori.gilis@sickkidsfoundation.com, w: (416) 813-6166, press 1 x2040, m: (416)
414-5808

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