Spirit of Giving


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We dance for the kids.

Dance Marathon is a movement involving university and high school students at more than 300 schools across the North America, all raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in their community. On April 3, 2014, Sackville High is hosting the very first Dance Marathon to ever take place in the Maritime region.

Dance MarathonHere at Sackville High, along with close to 14 additional schools throughout Halifax Regional Municipality, Dance Marathon hype is getting ELECTRIC! So far, we’ve raised almost $6,000 dollars and have nearly 500 students ready to get their dancing shoes on and boogie for the IWK!

When I first looked out over the sea of 20 faces at our very first Dance Marathon committee meeting, I never could have envisioned just how much the initial excitement and commitment would blossom. Nor could I have imagined   just how much love, support and passion would be put into making this event a marvelous reality. As of now, our planning committee has approximately 75 students, all of which are 110% ready to make magic happen April 3rd.

Never before has such joy, love, and unity flowed through the halls of Sackville High. We are absolutely thrilled with how much giving back has positively impacted our school community and how great it makes us feel. We’d like to thank Children’s Miracle Network for bringing us the opportunity of hosting a Dance Marathon. Special thanks go out to all of our sponsors who contributed puzzle pieces of support for our special mosaic.

To all of the lovely and compassionate donors, and the phenomenally inspired students and staff, without you this day wouldn’t be possible. Last, but certainly not least, we’d like to give a HUGE thank you to the IWK for welcoming us into your hearts. We are proud to support an institution that has given countless levels of support to so many of us through the years.

On Thursday, April 3rd we dance for the kids and we dance for the IWK.  

Rebecca Butler, Students’ Council Co-President & SHS Dance Marathon Co-Chair

Support the Sackville High Dance Marathon for the IWK

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From the bottom of my heart – thank you!

Boy reading a card

Tristan Gallant reads a congratulatory card with his mom, from one of his supporters.

As a Mom, you hope you never in your life hear the words ‘Your child has cancer.’ The reality is, many of us do hear these words at some point in life. And then begins the journey of treatment, sleepless nights worrying about and watching over your child, and hope and prayers. That journey – if you live in the Maritimes – ultimately involves the IWK Health Centre working with your local hospital to deliver the best possible care for your child.

Just three years ago my son, Tristan Gallant, was diagnosed with Leukemia. Today, thanks to the IWK and immeasurable support from family, friends, colleagues, schools, and businesses, locally and across Canada,  Tristan is a happy and healthy ten-year-old boy. When I was asked if he would be this year’s Change Bandit Hero for the 103.9 MAX and K 94-5 FM Cares for Kids IWK Radiothon, I was honoured. Tristan was very excited about his important role, and got busy right away telling all his friends and helping us spread the word about his goal to raise $15,000 to support the most urgent priorities at the IWK.

The Radiothon was held at Champlain Place last week – and when we found out the Change Bandits raised a whopping $24,594.12, we realized more than ever how much this community supports Tristan and the IWK! We extend a heartfelt thanks to everyone who supported Tristan’s Change Bandit efforts, and special thanks to the following:

  • Big sister Jasmine J
  • Moncton Hospital
  • Claude D. Taylor School for sock hop, hat day, and lassoing loot!
  • All schools in Anglophone East School District for a very successful casual day!
  • Riverview Lions Club for lassoing loot!
  • Champlain Place, 103.9 MAX FM and 94-5 FM for supporting and raising IWK awareness
  • Atlantic Superstore and all other local Radiothon sponsors
  • Uncle Wayne Gallant for using his gift of music to raise awareness for the IWK and ‘drum up support’ (literally) for Tristan’s fundraising.
  • Tristan – for being our hero all the time, and for helping so many other children at the IWK through your beautiful personality, bright smile, and remarkable fundraising! We love you Tristan! 

Sincerely,
Debi Gallant
(Tristan’s mom!)


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I’m Tristan Gallant, I’m 10 years old, and I approve of this message.

Moncton Change Bandit, Tristan Gallant

IWK Moncton Change Bandit Hero, Tristan Gallant

Tristan Gallant is this year’s Moncton Change Bandit Hero for the K94-5 & 103.9 MAX FM Cares for Kids IWK Radiothon. For the last few weeks, Tristan has been working hard to help raise $15,000 to support the most urgent priorities of the IWK Health Centre.

I felt very happy when the IWK Foundation asked me to be the IWK Change Bandit Hero this year. It’s really nice [to be selected] and really fun being on the radio. It’s really really fun. Everybody wants to talk to me and take pictures of me.

You can raise money as a change bandit by doing things like a sock hop and a hat day at school; by telling everyone you know how great the IWK is, and by collecting coins at a big store like Superstore. Your parents and friends can put their change all together and put it in your loot bag.

I like the nurses and doctors and Child Life people at the IWK. All the people there like Kate, and Carol, all the doctors and nurses, and all the rest of the people there are really nice to me.

The IWK is important to me because they helped me and a lot of other kids feel better, and they also saved my life when I had Cancer.

People should give money to the Change Bandit program to help IWK buy even better machines and better medicines to help kids feel better. I’m Tristan Gallant, I’m 10 years old, and I approve of this message. 🙂

The 5th Annual K 94-5 & 103.9 MAX FM Cares for Kids IWK Radiothon will be broadcasting live from Champlain Place Mall February 20 & 21 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.. 

Make a gift to the IWK Radiothon.


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Change Makers – Jacob

This article is a series of three, written by Tom Mason for the Fall 2013/Winter 2014 issue of Izaak Magazine – an in-depth, behind the scenes, all-access publication highlighting the incredible, everyday happenings at the IWK Health Centre. A stay at the hospital can be tough, but for some exceptional young people, it’s also a time to grow , gain strength and learn about who they are. 

Jacob Hamilton

Jacob Hamilton

For Jacob Hamilton, paying it forward means finding strength in his own life. At 19, Jacob has been through more than most people his age. He’s already struggled with mental illness, and the stigma that surrounds it, for several years.

Jacob spent four months in the IWK inpatient mental health unit starting at age 17. He endured weeks of difficult medication changes, missed out on family and school events, even spending his birthday and the days leading up to Christmas in the hospital. Through it all, the IWK staff was there to help him, at times becoming almost part of his extended family. “They even took part in Christmas activities with me,” he says.

Today Jacob uses his own experiences to help other young people suffering with mental illness. He volunteers with the IWK Foundation and has worked to raise money for a new inpatient mental health unit for the hospital that will offer much improved care space for those with acute mental illness requiring hospitalization at the IWK. He speaks out to help improve adolescent mental health care in Nova Scotia, and he advocates for young people, to help them overcome the stigma that so often goes with mental illness.

“Mental illness is a disease like any other,” he says. “There’s nothing to be ashamed of, and there’s always hope. There are a lot of youth out there dealing with these issues. They need to know how they can access mental health care.”

He’s also attending Dalhousie University, working on a science degree and planning to major in neuroscience, microbiology and immunology. Jacob recently received a $40,000 scholarship to help him pay for university and he’s doing well with his studies, but he still deals with his illness every day. “I have good days and bad days,” he says. The hours he gives back as a mental health volunteer are one of the ways he copes. “I do it as a way to give back to the IWK. I lost a lot of time in my life because of my illness. I lost a year of school. The IWK helped me get better. They helped me get back to real life.”

Jacob says that people with mental illness need someone in their corner to help them get proper treatment in their most difficult days. That’s what motivates him to work so hard. “They need to fight for the right care, and the irony is they really aren’t equipped to fight,” he says. “There are a lot of patients who can’t speak about their problems, but I don’t mind speaking out.”

This story and many exciting others are available for FREE though Izaak Magazine’s fully interactive mobile app, available for download on the iTunes Newstand and Google play. You can also read Izaak magazine online through your desktop computer.


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Embracing your authentic self

On December 5th, IWK Foundation President & CEO, Jennifer Gillivan, took part in one of more than 200 TEDxWomen events around the world at Mount Saint Vincent University. TEDWomen is a TED event curated by TED and Pat Mitchell, focusing on women and innovation. The theme of TedWomen this year is ‘Invented Here’.

Jennifer believes when women can truly be their authentic self they can lead an extraordinary life!


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The reasons to give are endless.

Today we are broadcasting live from the IWK Health Centre for the 12th Annual IWK Radiothon on C100 FM.

This year, the C100 Radiothon for the IWK will be raising money towards the purchase of ventilators for the Pediatric Neonatal Intensive Care Units. Ventilators are life support machines, or breathing machines, that are used for any patient whose breathing is compromised.

These machines can breath for those critically ill patients that can’t breathe on their own and also support them when they have difficulty breathing.

Tune in to C100 FM between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. to hear some inspirational stories from IWK patients, like Parker Murchison.

To make a gift, please call 1-800-595-2266 or visit http://www.iwkfoundation.org/C100.


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Not your average classroom setting.

CJ Studer is the Athletic Director at Athena Consolidated School in Summerside, PEI, 2012 Big Fish Winners.

Athena Consolidated School accepting their Big Fish banner during Telethon Weekend in PEI.

The staff and students of Athena Consolidated School in Summerside, PEI walk down their hallways that are flooded with shamrocks.  It is St. Patrick’s Day and all are decked out in shades of green.  But St. Pat’s is not what they are celebrating.

Every year around March 17th, brave staff and students shave their heads for what they lovingly call St. Shaverick’s Day!  The shavees collect money from friends and family in order to donate 100% of the funds to the IWK Foundation.  The entire school packs the gym bleachers while Irish gigs and reels blast from the speakers.  The nervously excited students, who wish to have their heads shaved, sit in the middle of the gym and get sheared as the kids from kindergarten to Grade 9 laugh, clap, and stomp their feet.  It is truly a sight to be seen.

The IWK has touched thousands of families in the Maritimes, and the Athena family is so proud to support their efforts.  Like many island schools, some of Athena’s students would not be here without the knowledge, expertise, and care given by all associated with the IWK.

The children quickly learn what it feels like to be with no hair, but more importantly, they learn the value of philanthropy and empathy.  They get a small glimpse of what those battling cancer and undergoing chemotherapy treatments experience.  They also receive the intrinsic reward of giving to others.  That is a lesson that is hard to teach in an average classroom setting.

It has been said that one should never respect men merely for their riches, but rather for their philanthropy; we do not value the sun for its height, but for its use. The staff and students of Athena embody this every St. Shaverick’s Day.  They are true leaders in the community.

The IWK Foundation’s Big Fish Program recognizes the top fundraising school from each region. If your school is named Big Fish for your region (Mainland Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island) your school will be awarded:

  • A $1,000 gift card donated by Walmart
  • An opportunity to make a live cheque presentation during Telethon weekend on CTV
  • A flag that can be proudly displayed in your school

Do you have what it takes to become a Big Fish?  Register your school today!