Spirit of Giving


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Friends Asking Friends – Together We Can Make A Difference.

IMG_0056We spent many days and many hours in the IWK Health Centre’s NICU, surrounded by an incredible team of nurses, doctors, social workers, etc.  We were included on our girl’s daily rounds, we were taught how to show our love to babies that were in incubators, on ventilators, with oxygen probes, feeding tubes, IV’s, and heart rate monitors.  We were taught how to change diapers on such tiny little bums.  We experienced one of the most precious moments of a parent’s life in the NICU…kangaroo care.

We spent 124 days at the IWK, the first two weeks I was on strict bed rest, the next month felt like a roller coaster ride with many ups and downs.  We prayed every day that someday we could take our girls home…Someday never came…on our 124th day, we left the hospital with only one baby carrier.

IMG_9388We left the IWK feeling incredibly empty.  Lost.  Broken-hearted.  But at the same time, we felt gratitude.  Love. Thankful.  Our loss will never be forgotten, just as the support and care we received during a most difficult time will never be forgotten.

The IWK 5K – In Memory of Jessica, which takes place on Telethon Sunday every year, was created to commemorate our daughter and at the same time show our gratitude for the care we received for our girls at the IWK and also the support to myself and my husband after our daughter passed away.  In 5 years we raised over $95,000, with every year growing exponentially.  This money was raised several different ways, but the easiest and most significant way was through the IWK’s online fundraising tool – Friends Asking Friends.

IMG_9502Friends Asking Friends allows you to create your own personal fundraising page for the IWK Telethon for Children. By creating a personal page with our story and pictures through this free site, I was able to share my fundraising goals on social media and email it to friends and family from away who were unable to participate at the event. The more personal your page is, the more you will touch people’s hearts which ultimately helps raise vital dollars to ensure maritime families receive world class specialized care.  Please help support this year’s IWK Telethon for Children and create your own personal fundraising page through the Friends Asking Friends website.  You will be surprised how easy it is, and how quickly your goals will be reached!

For more information on the IWK 5K – In Memory of Jessica please visit their Facebook page or contact Jenn Manuel at iwk5kinmemoryofjessica@gmail.com

Click here for details on how to create your own personal fundraising page for the IWK Foundation. 

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An experience I will never forget

Kristin Wilton is a Mount Saint Vincent University public relations co-operative student at the IWK Health Centre Foundation.

Maria Panopalis, Kristin and an IWK patient during the 30th Annual IWK Telethon for Children.

Maria Panopalis, Kristin and a patient during the 30th Annual IWK Telethon for Children.

Throughout my second work term at the IWK Foundation, the bulk of my responsibilities were focused on the planning and implementation of Telethon. 2014 was a big year for the IWK as it celebrated 30 wonderful years of the IWK Telethon for Children. On May 31 and June 1, 2014, a record-breaking $6,154,816 was raised thanks to the generosity of Maritimers. This shows Maritime commitment to the IWK and is a significant increase from the inaugural event in 1985 raising $649,000.

Being part of Telethon 30 was humbling. From scheduling vignettes with donors, patients and our partners at CTV Atlantic, to pre-produced stories and rover interviews, I was able to participate in the many aspects that bring Telethon to life.

As the days went on and the Health Centre turned into a live television studio, the excitement exhilarated. To kick off Telethon 30, the IWK Foundation hosted a live remote celebration with CTV Atlantic at the Health Centre. Many early founders, patients and caregivers highlighted special moments from the very first Telethon in 1985. I had the privilege to meet and learn from those who participated in the first Telethon, which was extremely rewarding and provided me with an appreciation of the connection these individuals had and continue to have to the IWK. The distinct transformation over the course of 30 years proves that the Health Centre is a priority for our patients and families throughout the Maritimes.

Another special addition to Telethon 30 was the #MyIWK campaign. Thanks to our partners at Bell Aliant, the #MyIWK campaign kept those involved in the magic of Telethon in the days leading up to the live broadcast. For every photo uploaded to Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #MyIWK, Bell Aliant donated $1 up to $30,000 to celebrate the 30th anniversary. Not only did Telethon 30 raise over $6 million but social media played a large part, reaching 12 million people world-wide. It’s a great feeling knowing that Maritimers continue to step up year after year to make a difference, offline and online.

As I end my time here at the IWK Foundation, I can’t help but reflect on my experiences. Being part of an organization that raises funds to better the care of our Maritime children is rewarding and thanks to my colleagues, is an experience I will never forget.


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May is LEAVE A LEGACY™ month!

May is LEAVE A LEGACY™  month! Mary Theresa Ross, Manager of Personal & Planned gifts, shares her personal connection to the IWK Health Centre and the important roll that planned gifts make to patients at the IWK. 

If you have visited the IWK Health Centre with a sick child or loved one, you truly understand the passion and conviction of IWK staff members who teach, encourage and challenge patients and their families to thrive no matter what the illness or disease.  Prior to working at the IWK Foundation, I was a Foundation volunteer for 21 years.  However, my personal journey with the IWK actually began 30 years ago, when I walked into that foreign concrete building for the first time, not as an employee or volunteer, but as the mother of a child with a serious illness.  At that moment, I had no idea that the doctors, nurses, patients and events that happened within those four walls would shape me into the person that I have become today.

Leave a legacy to the IWK in your Will

Jody with her son, Cameron.

My true passion for the IWK stems from the time that my family and I spent at the Health Centre all those years ago. Over the course of an eleven-year period, my daughter, Jody, spent five years and three months as an inpatient. This is not including the additional six and a half months that Jody spent as an inpatient on the women’s side when she found herself in critical condition while pregnant with my beautiful grandson, Cameron.  Cameron and Jody would not be here today without the doctors and nurses who fought valiantly to save both of their lives.

This is just one IWK story. And to me, the most rewarding part of my personal and professional journey with the IWK has been meeting other individuals and families who have shared their stories of hope and encouragement.  Although often overwhelming, these stories have the power to move you in profound and unexpected ways, no matter what the outcome. Maritime families recognize the IWK as a centre of excellence and believe whole-heartedly that they have received the best possible care.  This is why I am a donor.  And this is why I have left a gift to the IWK Foundation in my estate plans.

In my current role as the Manager, Personal and Planned Gifts at the IWK Foundation, I have been fortunate to witness first-hand how our donors and families are giving back to the IWK and the impact that their generosity continues to have on patient care at the Health Centre.  Estate gifts to the IWK help sustain excellence in specialized care including neonatal and pediatric intensive care, women’s health, and mental health services for children and youth.  Funds also support world-renowned research studies, capital investments, and the purchase of world-class technology and state-of-the-art equipment.  Gifts made through estate planning keep us strong, motivated and inspired not only today but well into the future.

This is why I need you to please consider joining me today.  Your estate gift, no matter what the size, will help children like Jody and make a significant difference in the lives of thousands of families like mine.  Help us ensure that the IWK’s tradition of excellence will live on by leaving a legacy for future generations.

Excellence is in your hands.  

Learn more about leaving a planned gift to the IWK Foundation.


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An incredible day with an incredible family.

Since 1996, CTV Atlantic has proudly broadcast the IWK Telethon for Children and helped raised millions of dollars for the IWK Health Centre. Rachel Bower shares her experience of filming one of the remarkable stories that will be featured on this year’s Telethon broadcast. 

Steve&JoshMy role in the IWK Telethon for Children is story producer. It is a role I am fortunate to have as I get to meet many incredible children and their families.

Recently, CTV production camera operator, Steve Townsend and I travelled to Southern Nova Scotia to meet Joshua Cochrane and his mom Anne and sisters Chaya and Kate.

Josh is diagnosed with autism, Kawasaki disease, juvenile idiopathic arthritis and teeth malformation.

LightinglessonFrom the moment Josh and Steve met, they were inseparable. Josh was interested in how camera and lights worked, and Steve was happy to share his knowledge with his new friend.

Josh watches everything and quickly began to copy Steve.

After seeing how Steve set up the lights for his mom’s interview Josh set up the lights for his own interview. He helped Steve pick out beautiful scenic shots. When Steve, who is a master of lighting with found objects, was setting up for an interview Josh was right beside him asking him what he was doing.  At the end of the shoot, to Steve’s delight, Josh helped put the gear back into the CTV Production Truck. HelpinginTruck2

It was a pleasure to witness how well Josh and Steve interacted on this shoot.

To find out more about Joshua’s story tune into the 30th Annual IWK Telethon for Children broadcast live on CTV May 31 & June 1.

Make a gift to the IWK Telethon for Children.


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10 reasons we love our donors

Happy Valentine’s Day! Donors are an essential part of making the IWK the centre of excellence that it is today. We are so thankful for their love and generosity! This Valentine’s Day, our staff members at the IWK Foundation wanted to let our supporters know exactly why we love them. 

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10 reasons why we love our donors.

1 – I love the passion so many of our donors have for the IWK. They are fiercely dedicated to the cause and they understand the direct impact their giving has on patients and staff.  It’s a beautiful thing! ~ Carla Adams, Principal Communications Strategist

2 Our donors provide more than money – they give passion, energy, and expertise! ~ Molly Cotter, Director of Finances and Donor Services

3 – They  not only give, they can go above and beyond, volunteering their time and efforts beyond the financial. They’re so happy to give to total strangers! It really is inspiring. ~ Christie Moore, Major Gifts Officer

4 – I love our donors because they help the staff at the IWK make miracles happen! – Lynda Moffatt,  Development Officer – Cape Breton and Eastern Nova Scotia 

5 I am very grateful and love our many donor’s who, because they care, are quietly having an impact on the quality of health care we have come to expect from the IWK; they help to ensure that this level of excellence can continue well into the future. Their continued support is both humbling and vital. ~ Mary Theresa Ross, Manger of Planned Giving 

6 – They inspire me to be more giving.  ~ Trena Crewe, Director of Donor Relations

7 – I love our donors because they give children hope. ~ David Huett, Donor Service Specialist

8 – I love our donors because they care about the IWK as much as we do. Their donations are special and come from the heart. We both share the same the goal, to make the IWK the place possible for Maritime children, women and their families. ~ Andrew Paris, Administrative Assistant/Receptionist 

9 – I love our donors for their spirit of generosity and support for Maritime families.  ~ Natalie Foster, Database & Donor Services Administrator

10 – I love our donors because beyond the financial support they provide, they provide the most important gift of all:  hope. ~ Geoffrey Milder, Development Officer, Mainland NS & Children’s Miracle Network Program Director


From the bottom of our hearts, thank you to every one of our supporters. You are part of everything we do. 

Make a gift to the IWK Foundation.


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No matter how old you are everyone can make a difference

Ben, Joe and Matt Power are 2014’s IWK Change Bandit Heroes for the 13th Annual IWK Radiothon on C100FM. Over the past few weeks, this dedicated group of boys has been working hard to raise money for the IWK Health Centre.

Joe, Matt and Ben Power

Joe, Matt and Ben Power

The IWK  was where my brothers and I were born and right off  the bat, the IWK was really important to all three of us. We were all born a bit early and had to spend time under lights for jaundice but aside from that, our Mom said she didn’t imagine us ever needing to go back.   We like to play all kinds of different sports:  karate, baseball, basketball and swimming are our favorites, oh and tennis too.  We like to play electronics with each other and with our friends.  We also like music.  Matthew plays the piano, Joe the drums and I play the flute and the saxophone.  We are pretty ordinary kids and we have all been patients at the IWK.  When Matthew was in so much pain that he couldn’t play or anything, the IWK eye clinic, especially Dr. Robataille, was there for him.  He had so many operations and different stuff done to his eye until eventually, they had to give him a new one.  Now he isn’t in pain anymore and he’s actually quite funny.  We never knew that because when his eye was sick he didn’t laugh or play much.  Tarsal coalition stopped me from playing with my friends and playing the sports I love.  Dr. Orlik fixed my foot and I’m going to play Spring basketball and baseball this year.

Being  the Change Bandit Heroes this year and Change Bandits in the future important to us because we are helping the hospital that helped us.  We are saying “Thank you”.  AND we are helping other kids feel better.  This year we collected recyclables to make money for Change Bandits.  Who knew that just one house could have over 40 bottles which makes their donation $4.  Everyone has recyclables, what an easy way to make a big difference.  Our school, Kingswood Elementary also had a popcorn fundraiser.  Everyone who wanted popcorn for recess one day brought $2 and that added up to $1001.65.  We haven’t finished counting yet, but I think we are going to make our goal of $2000.  This goes to show that no matter how old you are everyone can make a difference if they try.

Ben Power, age: almost 11 🙂

The 13th Annual IWK Radiothon on C100FM will broadcast live from the IWK Health Centre Friday, January 31, 2014 from 6 a.m. – 7 p.m.. Thank you to our generous sponsors: C100 FM, Atlantic Acura, Sleep Country Canada, Scotiabank, Halifax Shopping Centre, Our Children Magazine.


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Making a change in the world

Shanyn, Maddy, Jessica, and Luna

Shanyn, Maddy, Jessica, and Luna

At the beginning of the school year we got our class outline. On it, our expectations and our teacher’s goal for this semester was for us to do something to change something in the world, whether it was big or small.  A couple of us got together and figured out a great cause we wanted to help.  I loved the idea of the IWK, it was so important in our community and they saved two of our group member’s lives.  Neither of us would have been here if it weren’t for their help!  We had a goal of $500 to raise for them.  We wanted to make sure that the IWK would always be there to help children like us.  In our school, in the community of Liverpool, on October 24th, we had a bake sale. Altogether we raised $125 for that day and scheduled a bottle drive for the 2nd and 3rd of November.  In the freezing cold we managed to raise $380 which was just enough to reach our goal.  We were so glad to be able to give them $505 towards the kids that needed our help.  We drove into the IWK one day and did the cheque presentation.  The girl that assisted us from the start was very helpful, and I am glad that we chose this charity.

We had a great journey with the IWK and loved every step of the way.

Shanyn, Maddy, Jessica, and Luna