For over 100 years, Lions Clubs around the world have served to improve health and wellbeing, strengthen communities and support those in need. Recently, Lions International added childhood cancer to their roster of global causes, promising to increase acts of support to families and children affected by cancer. This year, the Elmvale District Lions Club chose POGO as one of their beneficiaries of their annual truck draw, pledging $20K for POGO in 2022. In July, POGO sat down with Elmvale member, and Club president, Jenn Rebidoux to talk about their event.
POGO: Tell us about your personal experience with childhood cancer.
Jenn: I think we all have a personal story to share. Mine is our eldest son, although not a young child, was in his 20s when he was diagnosed with a rare cancer. Our community rallied around our family to help us get through the diagnosis and the grueling treatments he went through. The chemotherapy and subsequent surgeries have been life altering for him.
I think everyone knows someone who has had a difficult cancer journey. It is not hard to understand how much more challenging and stressful that would be when you are a young family and how that would amplify the situation. A young child might not even understand what is happening to them, and one parent may have to give up work to become the fulltime caregiver to their child in treatment—this on top of the rest, would be unimaginable to bear.
POGO: How did you first hear about POGO and the work we do?
Jenn: During his District Governor year, Lion Jamie Jones introduced us to POGO. He is extremely passionate about this cause and connected us with POGO’s Chief Development Officer, Lynn Wilson, and POGO Interlink Nurse Tina Hamalainen who set up a Zoom meeting for our members to learn more about the impact our possible support would have on families affected by childhood cancer. We watched an incredibly compelling video that really demonstrates what families go through when their child is diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house. We also learned about how POGO Satellite Clinics across Ontario help families stay closer to home when their child is in treatment—two of these clinics are relatively close to our Club. I believe it took about five minutes for us to decide unanimously that we would support POGO with our annual fundraiser.
POGO: $20K will have a big impact on families with a child in cancer treatment. How did you raise such a large donation?
Jenn: Our Club’s Annual Truck Draw. This campaign is a major fundraiser in our community. Annually we raffle off a Ford F-150. We are so grateful to the ongoing community support, and I believe our participants would be proud funds raised though this campaign support such a worthy cause.
POGO would like to gratefully acknowledge the Elmvale District Lions Club and all the ticket purchasers of this year’s truck draw for their support.