When Halton Regional Police Service members Tamara and Jeff Sandy’s four-year-old son Chase was diagnosed with kidney cancer, their lives narrowed to one focus: helping their son get through the biggest battle of his young life.
But even with Provincial health coverage, there are a myriad of small expenses that quickly add up when caring for a family member with cancer: everything from parking and gas to meals, accommodations and loss of income while you are at the hospital.
The Sandys found themselves buoyed by an outpouring of support from friends, family and HRPS co-workers, freeing them to devote their full attention to their son’s recovery. When, thankfully, Chase was declared cancer-free, his parents decided to pay it forward. The charity they founded, Chase’s Gift, raises funds to assist families of children with cancer with cash, gift cards and restaurant meals, all designed to help make this difficult journey a little easier.
Today, Chase is a healthy, active 15-year-old and is considering either becoming a history professor (he is a major history buff), or a lawyer (he’s interested in civil rights, immigration or defence). But the fact that the generosity of others helped ensure this young man even has a bright future is perhaps the greatest gift of all.
We have been holding the fundraiser for 6 years, and in total have raised over $240,000 for families. We are NOT a registered charity, so it’s amazing that we receive so many donations to auction off. We donate backpacks containing gift cards, plus donations of lump sum amounts to assist families with mortgage/rent/bills, when they fall behind while they await EI payments. We have paid for funeral expenses, as well as medical equipment for children. Recently we purchased a Laser Acupuncture tool for the McMaster Oncology Unit for children who are afraid of needles. As well, we donated funds to McMaster Oncology to purchase Z-Flo supports for children on the ward. We also donate to Camp Trillium every year, a camp for children who are battling cancer, children who have finished treatment, and for their siblings and families.