Tag Archives: cancer

ALC honours former student with new Buddy Bench

(Photo: The Jude family, left to right: Steve, Mason (8), Colby (6) and Dev. They’re sitting on a Buddy Bench at A. Lorne Cassidy elementary school named in memory of Bryce Jude, who passed away in 2012 after a battle with leukemia. Photo via A. Lorne Cassidy School.)

The family of Bryce Jude helped students at A. Lorne Cassidy school unveil a new “Buddy Bench” named in his honour. Jude passed away in 2012 at the age of 7 after a battle with leukemia.

“It’s nice to know his memory will hopefully live on,” says his mother Dev Jude. The Jude family, including Dev’s husband Steve and Bryce’s brothers Mason and Colby, were on hand for the unveiling on Thursday.

“It has been happy. For anyone who loses a child, it’s always nice when you can remember them. Your biggest fear is that they may be forgotten,” says Jude.

She says that the school originally planned to plant a tree in memory of Bryce until she heard about Buddy Benches being installed at other schools. She credits ALC principal Andrew Canham for his support and leadership to make it happen.

“A tree would have been lovely. I asked the principal: ‘What do you think of this idea instead of a tree?’ And that’s what we did. They painted it red because it was Bryce’s favourite colour – the Sens were his favourite team and they came to CHEO to see him,” she says.

“The rules surrounding this bench, called a ‘Buddy Bench’, are pretty simple. Within a few minutes, any student sitting on the bench will to approached by a fellow student and asked to play. In simpler terms, when you don’t have anyone to play with, you go to the Buddy Bench and a friend will come along to play,” explained Canham at the unveiling ceremony for the bench.

Bryce Jude
Bryce Jude

Bryce was diagnosed with leukemia a month into Junior Kindergarten, and ended up missing most of the year while he was getting treatment. He attended school for a few months in Senior Kindergarten, and then started his Grade 1 year when he had a relapse. Although he would never return to school, he continued to do schoolwork from home with the support of his teachers.

Meanwhile, the school community organized fundraising events to help the family. Neither Jude nor her husband Steve were able to work because of the time and travel spent helping Bryce in the hospital. Dev Jude says that they were incredibly grateful for the support from friends and family, and their efforts have inspired her family to continue to give back.

“We’ve formed Refuse2lose, initially formed when my husband and I both could not work. [Friends] did some fundraising when Bryce was sick and my only requirement for accepting it was that we would pay it back in time. We try to raise $50,000 each year,” she says.

The entire family gets involved. Bryce’s brothers Mason and Colby took part this week in the Inside Ride, an indoor stationary cycling fundraiser that raised $120,000 towards Candlelighters, in support kids and teens treated at CHEO who are living with cancer.

Dev Jude’s remarks at the opening ceremony on Thursday:
I’m so excited to be here today. Originally, we were going to plant a tree in memory of Bryce and while this was a lovely idea I was reading in the newspaper about a 2nd grader called Christian who had heard about the Buddy Bench all the way from Germany. He presented the idea to his principal who loved the idea – now these Buddy Benches are being installed all across North America. I believe A Lorne Cassidy is the first school in Stittsville to have a Buddy Bench installed and it’s so very special to our family that this bench is in memory of Bryce. He loved school and even though he wasn’t always at school he had a teacher from ALC come to teach him at home and he loved receiving all the cards and support many of you and your families sent him while he was at CHEO.

Making friends or asking a friend to play can be hard sometimes, especially if you are new to the school or your usual friends are not around. If ever you don’t have a friend to play with during recess or feel a bit lonely, all you now have to do is go sit on the bench.

And then this is where ALL of you get to help – each and every person – if you happen to see someone at the bench – ask them if they want to join in your game or come play. Or maybe just check in with them to see if they are OK.

There was a saying on one of the benches that I loved and said “The only way to have a friend is to be one”. Put your hands up if you think you can be a friend? Great! Each and every one of you will help to make this Buddy Bench work – it’s up to all of you and I am confident you will all do a great job as I see how caring and what great friends you all are.

I know Bryce would be happy to see this bench and I love the fact that his brothers Mason and Colby can have it here during their time at ALC. Thank you all so much for honouring Bryce in this way and enjoy the bench!


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PHOTOS: Hair Donation brings in over $95,000 (and counting!)

(Above: Deputy Mayor Mark Taylor cuts Councillor Shad Qadri’s hair at the annual Hair Donation Ottawa event at Algonquin  College on Sunday. Looking on are stylist Eli Saikaley and Hair Donation Ottawa founder Helen Hutchings (wearing glasses).  Photo by Barry Gray.)

The organizers of Hair Donation Ottawa are calling this year’s fundraising event another big success, with donations closing in on $100,000 as of today.  Money raised supports cancer research. Continue reading


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Stittsville rallies to raise funds for Michael Meehan

The Stittsville community continues to rally to raise funds for Michael Meehan, the nine-year-old Stittsville boy who’s been diagnosed for the second time with Leukemia.

Next up is a benefit on Saturday, January 23 at the Johnny Leroux Arena. It’s sponsored by Brown’s Your Independent Grocer, with bar services provided by the Stittsville Lions Club and entertainment from Quality Entertainment.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased by emailing Peter Vukovic at peter_vukovic@sympatico.ca. He’s a member of the Guardian Angels School Parent Council.

Friends of the family have also set up a GoFundMe page, and as of Friday night they’ve raised over $12,000 of their $20,000 goal. He’s undertaking clinical trials as part of a new treatment in Montreal, and the money raised will help reduce the financial stress on the family during this time.

Here’s a note from the GoFundMe page:

Michael Meehan was born with Down Syndrome and a rare brain malformation, Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum. He was first diagnosed with leukemia in January 2013 after complaining about pain in his side. Michael had just started ski lessons so his parents at first thought it was simply some kind of related soreness. But when the pain persisted, they took him to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, where he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Despite that treatment, which demanded two-and-a-half years of chemotherapy, Michael managed to help raise more than $45,000 for CHEO, and represent both the hospital and the Canadian Cancer Society as a community ambassador. That work earned him national recognition in March as one of five “heroes” selected by the Canadian Down Syndrome Society.

Earlier this year, with his cancer officially in remission, Michael had his implanted medicine port removed and rang the end-of-treatment bell at CHEO.

But during a routine blood test in mid-October, doctors discovered Michael’s leukemia had returned. Michael began painful Chemotherapy sessions at CHEO hospital.

Recently, the Meehan’s discovered that Michael wasn’t reacting to the Chemotherapy. The doctor’s suggested Michael begin a new treatment called CAR-T cell therapy which is offered in Montreal, Quebec.

Michael and the Meehan family are now preparing for yet another long and painful fight with new treatment and hopes for Michael’s recovery.

During this entire battle Michael has had a smile on his face and has inspired many of us to stay positive and keep fighting until the battle is won.

Meehan benefit flyer/poster


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PHOTOS: Sacred Heart relay raises nearly $17k

Sacred Heart High School students hosted their first-ever Relay for Life fundraising event on Friday and it was a big success, raising at least $16,800 for the Canadian Cancer Society. Despite cold and windy weather, participants walked laps draped in blankets and huddled together to stay warm.

The day started off with an opening ceremony where a few survivors from the community shared their cancer stories and led the first lap around the track.

A luminary ceremony started once it got dark that had almost everyone in tears. Students shared what it was like to watch their loved ones battle cancer and in some cases die from the disease.

“It was very emotional and touching to see how many students are affected by cancer and it just goes to show how all the participants were there for the right reason: they were there to fight back, to honour the survivors and remember those who lost their battle,” wrote Grade 12 student Anna Ploeg in an email to StittsvilleCentral.ca.

“By the end of the evening all participants felt close as if we were all a little family. Students approached me and thanked me for the amazing day and told me that they were for sure going to participate again next year and recruit more of their friends to join too,” wrote Ploeg.

“The relay committee and myself owe a big thank you to our corporate sponsors. To OzDome for their fantastic facility and being so incredibly accommodating, they have already promised to host Sacred’s Relay event next year! To Giant Tiger who were so willing and excited to help the cause, Giant Tiger donated a generous amount and Friendly the tiger stopped by to say hello to all the students. And finally Combat Networks who also gave a generous donation and helped sort the cans for the food banks that students brought with to the sign in tent, staff from the company stopped by several times throughout the evening and offered to help with anything that needed to get done,” wrote Ploeg.

Although the event is over, students are still collecting donations. people can still donate online.

Sacred Heart students raised nearly $17,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society at this year's Relay for Life.
Anna Ploeg speaks to Relay for Life participants.

Sacred Heart students raised nearly $17,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society at this year's Relay for Life. Sacred Heart students raised nearly $17,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society at this year's Relay for Life.

Sacred Heart students raised nearly $17,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society at this year's Relay for Life.

 


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PHOTOS: Hair Donation event collects over $115,000 and 10,000 inches of hair

(Above: City councillor Shad Qadri had his head shaved as part of Sunday’s fundraising event at Algonquin College. Wayne Patrick from Shears in Stittsville has the razor in hand and organizer Helene Hutchings looks on. Photo by Barry Gray.)

With money still coming in, the organizers of Hair Donation Ottawa say that this year’s fundraising efforts have raised at least $115,000 for cancer research.  They’ve also collected at least 10,766 inches of hair that will be recycled into wigs for cancer patients.

Hair Donation Ottawa was organized by Helene Hutchings and Perry Pavlovic, two Stittsville-based real estate agents. Photo by Barry Gray.
Hair Donation Ottawa was organized by Helene Hutchings and Perry Pavlovic, two Stittsville-based real estate agents. Photo by Barry Gray.

https://mobile.twitter.com/HairDonationOT/status/592471411815485440

https://mobile.twitter.com/HairDonationOT/status/592410784585666560


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Students cut teacher’s hair at Stittsville Public School

Students in Mme Reed’s Grade 4 class at Stittsville Public School managed to get away with cutting a teacher’s hair.

Students in her class raised $80 for Hair Donation Ottawa, more money than any other class in the school.  As a reward, they got to hack away sixteen inches of kindergarten teacher Liz Aitken’s hair on Wednesday, with help from Helene Hutchings of Hair Donation Ottawa. Continue reading


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