Janice's Story: Every Little Bit Counts

Janice's Story: Every Little Bit Counts

For Janice Laberge, a long-time supporter of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, reflecting on her volunteer work is a chance to see just how much of an impact every minute of help can make. “Everything from manning registration tables, acquiring sponsorship and developing new ideas – it’s all so important and every little bit counts. Volunteering has given me the ability to make a difference.”

Instrumental in several fundraising and support initiatives with Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, Janice has committed her time and efforts to the organization for almost 10 years. It all started after her daughter, Sarah, was diagnosed with a pediatric non-malignant brain tumour. Remembering that challenging time, Janice says volunteering is a way for her to return the support that was so valuable to her family.

Janice’s initial volunteer roles were assisting with Information Day registration and golf tournaments. She’s also been very active in all Rigatoni for Research (R4R) galas, a bi-annual fundraiser for pediatric brain tumour research. This fun – and delicious – community event was Janice’s first commitment to supporting families on the journey with the disease. From there, her dedication grew and soon she and Sarah found themselves joining the BrainWAVE committee together. This committee of volunteers leads the pediatric support program for families in Southern Ontario. “BrainWAVE was something for us to do together,” Janice adds. “We thought it would be fun but also a way to give back and help those going through similar situations we did.”

Through their time on the committee together Janice and Sarah helped dozens of families find some much needed respite from the day-to-day reality of a pediatric brain tumour. Now, Sarah is attending university and Janice is focusing her time on a new, national project with Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada – the Education Awards for pediatric brain tumour survivors.

What began based on a community grant through Janice’s employer, Bell Canada, has now grown into a full-fledged scholarship program. Janice explains that Bell awards grants of $500 in recognition of employees’ volunteerism through its Employee Giving Program, so when she received her grant she wanted those dollars earmarked for a scholarship program. “From our experience as a family and Sarah’s reality as a pediatric brain tumour survivor, I came to realize there was no dedicated financial support to help these young survivors take this important next step for themselves.”

Soon, this realization became a reality and today Janice is immensely proud of the recently launched Education Awards. These unique awards are generously funded by several donors and Janice is excited to see all of these efforts combined so that the program can grow and continue to help young pediatric brain tumour survivors achieve their dreams of post-secondary education.

Being a part of the awards’ implementation and review committees was incredibly rewarding, says Janice. “These young adults who have prevailed over incredible barriers are truly inspiring. It was a life lesson for me to read their applications and learn about their struggles and ability to overcome so much adversity. They have such promising futures.”

Whether it is through fundraising, helping out at events, or dreaming big about new ways patients and survivors can get help, Janice exemplifies the determined spirit of the 700 volunteers across Canada. Her creativity and her expertise as a parent of a pediatric brain tumour survivor is fuel to some of the organization’s most popular programs and events. And she says it’s a true joy to give her time for the cause that has made such a large impact on her family.

Thank you Janice for everything you have done, and continue to do, to make a difference for brain tumour patients and families.


For further information about becoming a volunteer, please contact:

Jennifer McIntosh
Human Resources & Volunteer Development Specialist

1-800-265-5106 or 519-642-7755, ext. 231

Story posted: August 2013

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