Charity

The Season of GIVING is here!

The hustle and bustle of Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone. Maybe it kick started some holiday shopping for you while you picked up gifts for loved ones or maybe you used it as an opportunity to purchase a few things for yourself. Now that that’s out of the way, what about helping people who need an extra hand? What about giving?

Today marks the start of the giving season. It’s Giving Tuesday, the one Tuesday in the year that thousands of Canadians give to a cause they care most about. So what is it that YOU care most about? This is the exact question that I’ve been asking myself. Of all the causes and people that I can help, who’s at the top of my list? It’s definitely something that has to do with mothers and children. After becoming a mother myself I’ve realized just how fortunate we are here in Canada. We have tons of amazing programs and support groups during and post pregnancy. We have great health care during our pregnancy and again post. And our children should they need, have one of the best hospitals around. Everything we could possibly need or want is many times just a phone call or short drive away. But it isn’t like this for everyone and that’s what breaks my heart.

About a month ago I was out with some friends and Cuso International was mentioned. I had never heard of Cuso before…what is Cuso? What do they do? What are they all about? Well let me share what I learned about Cuso that night.

Screen Shot 2017-11-26 at 11.07.00 PMCuso International is an organization that has been around for over 50 years and has been doing some great work in countries all over the world. Countries where people and communities are affected by poverty, exclusion and inequality like Ethiopia. Did you know that more than 80% of women in Ethiopia give birth without a skilled health worker which means that the majority of mothers have no help if they face complications before, during or after giving birth. This could mean serious injury, illness and at times losing their lives. A woman in Ethiopia is 55x more likely to die during childbirth than a woman in Canada. These mothers as well as babies are losing their lives from causes that are easily preventable with the basic health care and resources that we often take for granted here in Canada. Pretty scary right?!

How about this as some food for thought…

  • In Ethiopia there is 1 doctor for 26,943 people and 1 nurse or midwife for 4,237 people
  • In Ethiopia maternal mortality rate: 482 out of every 100,000 mothers
  • In Ethiopia under-five mortality rate: 59 out of every 1,000 births
  • In Canada there is 1 doctor for 484 people and 1 nurse or midwife for 102 people
  • In Canada maternal mortality rate: 7 out of every 100,000 mothers
  • In Canada under-five mortality rate: 5 out of every 1,000 births

Screen Shot 2017-11-26 at 11.10.56 PMCuso International is making a difference. Their volunteers are going into these countries and offering a wide range of skills, both medical and non-medical. They’re improving the quality of health care in their facilities and are empowering women and men to make informed health decisions. This means that with more training and better hospital protocols, health workers in places like Pawe Hospital (in Ethiopia) can recognize danger signs earlier, treat them faster and help more moms deliver their babies safely.

This is exactly what we need, we need more Cuso International volunteers to help these mothers and children. Seriously, think about it! Could you imagine what it would be like to live in their world for just a minute. To know that you can lose your life or your child lose theirs and for reasons that can be easily avoided is heart wrenching. So this Giving Tuesday, think about Cuso International and help support the Cuso CAN Fund…help save the lives of moms and babies around the world.

This is your chance to make a difference and help a fellow Mamma. To know that you are the reason she got the help, support and care that she needed in her pregnancy and can hold her child safely in her arms is a gift you can give that you can’t put a price tag on. Your monthly gift will be multiplied by 10, providing even more women and children with life saving health care.

Will you join the Giving Tuesday movement today and help support Cuso CAN Fund?

For more information and to make a donation to be sure to visit them at http://www.CusoCANFund.ca

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Cuso CAN Fund but the opinions expressed are my own.

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Sick Kids VS Everything!

I am a proud Torontonian! I love the city in which I live and work. It’s filled with amazing people from different cultures who embrace their roots, there are tons of great places to visit, awesome places to eat, fantastic music, artists, andddddd I could go on but I’d be here forever. Today, I really just want to focus on one of my all time fave things about Toronto…Sick Kids Hospital.

We are so amazingly fortunate to have one of the best hospitals right here in our backyard. One that many travel to from not only across our great country but all over the world. It all started back in 1875 by a group of women who rented out a house in downtown Toronto, set up some beds…6 to be exact and Sick Kids was born! This hospital has done sooooo much, the history on this place is just amazing. They are known world wide for their groundbreaking work and have a reputation like no other.

Sick Kids treats kids of all ages who are battling all different types of illnesses including the rarest of the rare and most serious. For some kids they are in and out, others have a short stay and some live there for months on end. These kids, their parents and the Sick Kids staff are truly amazing. Their reality isn’t an easy one and takes a lot of courage and strength.

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Recently the hospital started to put up images of kids standing brave and tall with a big “VS” behind them and today they launched the video for their newest campaign and BEST campaign I’ve ever seen. It’s called ‘Sick isn’t weak’ and well I could tell you about it but I think the best thing to do is press play and watch and see for yourself!

To all these superheroes (the kids) and their parents I applaud you…keep on fighting the fight because you can do it! And to the staff…from the admin people, social workers, nurses, doctors, surgeons, anesthesiologist and everyone in between THANK YOU! Thank you for all that you do, day in and day out.

For more information on Sick Kids be sure to visit http://www.fundthefight.ca

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It’s a Random Act of Kindness from Heaven

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Some people are blessed with long and healthy lives, but I can tell you that the majority of those people have not done half of what little Lauren Olivia Loughheed did in her short time spent here on earth.

We here at ChicMamma.ca have been following Lauren’s story just shortly after she was diagnosed with Krabbe Disease (back in 2011). A disease that affects about 1 in every 100,000 people in the United States. You see, Lauren was told that she would be lucky if she saw her 2nd birthday but she did and she saw her 3rd and 4th as well. During that time and in between all her therapies and travels between her home in Montreal and doctors in the United States, her family did everything they could to raise awareness about Krabbe, as well as raise funds for the cause. Her birthday parties were one of the many ways they did that. They were something that everyone would look forward too including the media. This past April 13th, 2015 Lauren lost her battle to Krabbe, she was 4 years and 3 months old. Today marks Lauren’s 5th birthday, only this time, she will be celebrating in heaven amongst her angel friends.

In honour of our friend Lauren, her parents…Amanda, Stephen and baby sister Zoe, we have launched the Random Acts of Kindness campaign in Lauren’s name. The campaign will run for the entire month of January. We would love for you to participate in this fun campaign that is sure to bring a little joy and warmth to the cold month of January.

Here’s a clip of Lauren’s parents speaking to Global News Montreal about #lifewithlolRAK

A Random Act of Kindness is a selfless act performed by a person that can bring help, kindness or cheer to another individual. You don’t have to spend any money to perform an act of kindness and what you do is up to you!

If you would like to participate in our campaign throughout the month of January, we would encourage you to do the following:

  1. Print out the campaign tags (PDF file included below)
  2. Prepare your random act of Kindness
  3. Remember to include the tag or image, consider leaving extra’s behind for the next person to use to help keep the movement spreading.
  4. Take a photo, post an image or your story to social media using hashtag #lifewithlolRAK
  5. Share the campaign on your social media!
Lauren RAK
click here to download the PDF

 

Happy Birthday Miss. Lauren, we love you and we miss you xo

For more information on #lifewithlolRAK
be sure to visit their website and “LIKE” the Lifewithlol Facebook Page

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Lullabies For A Great Cause

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Music has always been a huge part of my life; to the point where I spent the majority of it in a radio career. Hearing the different instruments come together with vocals and amazing lyrics to make for a killer song always gave me a rush. I remember being pregnant with my first going to concerts and wondering if she was rocking out on the inside just as much as I was on the outside.

When Samantha was born, I continued introducing her to music and did the same for Liliana and now Marcus. That kiddie juvenile stuff isn’t my thing and I can’t stomach playing it for them because let’s be honest, it’s lame and my kids are anything but that!. I always try to find cool stuff for them, real music from different eras and genres and they love it.

Having said that, I have to bite my tongue a bit here because I just recently came across some kick ass kids music featuring amazing Canadian artists and bands. I’m talking about Dine Alone Lullabies created by Casey Cole of Sparrow Sleeps. The album was just released last week and I can’t get enough of it! It features 16 tracks from some of the label’s best-loved artists. Cole has transformed familiar songs from City and Colour, Alexisonfire, Arkells, Jimmy Eat World, and many more into soothing and beautifully haunting soundscapes that children and parents alike will enjoy for years to come. Since I got my copy, I’ve had it on repeat non-stop and love it.

The album is available via iTunes, as well as on CD through Dine Alone Records webstore and in various record stores including HMV. Now the BEST part about this album is that ALL proceeds will be donated to the SickKids Foundation to support the highest priority needs at the hospital so staff can continue to provide exceptional care. That to me is reason alone to buy this album! Awesome music for your little ones while supporting a fantastic cause like the SickKids Foundation! Talk about a WIN WIN!

Here’s what you can expect to hear on the album…

DINE ALONE LULLABIES by Sparrow Sleeps Tracklist

01. The Girl (City and Colour)
02. Operator (Vanessa Carlton)
03. Bye Bye Love (Jimmy Eat World)
04. Accidents (Alexisonfire)
05. Oh, The Boss Is Coming! (Arkells)
06. Bambi (Tokyo Police Club)
07. Young Leaves (Attack In Black)
08. I Don’t Know (The Sheepdogs)
09. Stairway (Yukon Blonde)
10. Turn It Around (Lucius)
11. Class Historian (BRONCHO)
12. Robotic (Hannah Georgas)
13. Back To You (Twin Forks)
14. Sweet Mountain River (Monster Truck)
15. Don’t Ever Tell Locke What He Can’t Do (Moneen)
16. Dine Alone (Quicksand)

If you’re a parent, I suggest you hit up your local record store, visit the Dine Alone Records webstore or log onto iTunes and download your copy today. You’ll be giving your little one the beautiful gift of music while helping others in need. Now off to listen to some rockin’ lullabies and take a little nap! Ummm, I mean put the baby down for a nap! 😉

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Move over Santa, Marjorie is here!

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We all know about the man in the red suit but do you know about the amazing woman with the big golden heart named Marjorie? Let me tell you about her!

It wasn’t that long ago that I heard about the legendary Marjorie Brewster. I watched a video about her on YouTube, a few news stories that CTV News featured her in and also read about her in the Toronto Star newspaper. It warmed my heart to hear what she was doing for the paediatric oncology patients at Southlake Hospital and I was instantly overcome with emotion.

Marjorie (or Grandma Marjorie as all the kids at the Southlake Hospital Cancer Clinic know her) has dedicated her life to helping others, especially the little ones fighting a battle against cancer. To quote Marjorie “For Pete’s sake, it’s why I get up in the morning!”.

For 26 years, Marjorie has volunteered at the hospital and goes out of her way to make sure she puts a smile on the face of every child that crosses her path. Marjorie spends her days making sure the clinic is spotless, safe and clean for all the kids who frequent it and loves to greet each and every one of them with a toy in hand at each of their visit. A toy which Marjorie goes shopping for every week (on her 1 day off from her 4 day volunteer week at Southlake) and purchases with her own money.

Having lost her son to cancer 44 years ago at a young age (as well as a daughter later on in life) she understands first hand what these children are going through as well as their parents. As a result, she has made it her life’s mission to make their visits pleasant ones.

“When they come in, there’s no worry about what’s going to happen. They don’t think about it. They think about what I’ve got for them. And to me, that’s why I started it,” Brewster says.

Take a moment and watch the videos below so you can for yourself as to why many call Marjorie an Angel…

Now it’s time we give back to Marjorie and help raise funds so that she can continue to put a smile on the faces of those kids and their parents. 100% of all money raised will go directly to Marjorie’s Kids Fund which will be used to purchase toys for the children of the Southlake Regional Health Centre’s paediatric oncology clinic.

Please help us raise money for this fantastic cause by clicking here and sharing it with your friends.

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Dreams Do Come True…

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Dreams Take Flight is a national volunteer charitable organization dedicated to providing the trip of a lifetime to medically, mentally, physically, socially or emotionally challenged children. Dealing with this sort of thing as an adult isn’t easy, imagine what a child goes through and so when I heard what was happening today I couldn’t be more than happy and excited for them.

Today, Dreams Take Flight will making dreams come true for a some special children. Together a group from Sick Kids Hospital, About Face, Women’s Shelter of Barrie, Hospice Toronto and Southlake Regional Hospital will be taking flight and heading to The Magic Kingdom in Disney World!

My good friends Cory Kimm from 98.1 CHFI and Nurse Lisa from Southlake Regional Hospital are 2 of the many chaperones today and we here at Chic Mamma just wanted to wish you all a wonderful and magical time.

If there’s one thing to remember kids is that….DREAMS DO COME TRUE! xo

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Give the Gift of LOVE this Valentine’s Day!

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Everyone thinks that Valentine’s Day is a day for lovers and couples but it actually goes beyond that…it’s a day for love in general…all kinds of love! Love for our friends and families and sometimes people we don’t even know. What if I could tell you that this Valentine’s Day you could help make a difference in the lives of many children who need your help?

Come join us for the 1st Annual Mountain of Smiles Valentine’s Day Gala on Saturday, February 14th.

What is Mountain of Smiles Childrens Charity and what are they all about? Allow me to share 😉 .

Mountain Of Smiles Childrens Charity is all about supporting children and families in need within our community and giving back in any way that they can. In the past they’ve hosted toy drives, winter clothing drives and charity golf tournaments. They’ve donated generously to Sick Kids and the Salvation Army, but more recently they’ve looked for ways to reach out to families and children in need within the community. Currently they’ve worked with the Angel Foundation for Learning (a nonprofit organization who reaches out to over 37,000 children in the Toronto Catholic School Board) and they’ve donated hundreds of brand new articles of winter clothing that have helped dress over 100 underprivileged kids from head to toe and keep them warm during the cold winter months. Being there to watch these children choose their jackets and to see the excitement on their faces is a wonderful experience and one that they want to continue to expand on.

Mountain of Smiles has also donated directly to families in need within our community through the Rocky’s Emergency Fund. Rocky’s Emergency Fund was started to help families struggling to cope with a child or children dealing with an illness that requires regular hospital visits, prescription medications not covered by the Ontario Health Care system and daily life expenses.

Their goal for this year’s gala is to raise enough money so that they can continue to empower and support children within the community by providing them with food and clothing. They hope to reach out and help over 500 children in need throughout 2015. They would also like to increase their Rocky’s Emergency Fund so that they can reach out to helping at least 20 families in need. As well as add other initiatives to their charity in 2015 – such as painting and decorating rooms for those families who are struggling and need assistance. This year they will also be tracking all of they initiatives on Facebook so that everyone can see who they are helping and all that we are doing to reach out into the community.

So come and spend your Valentine’s Day in the company of the people you love all while giving the gift of love to those in need.

Date: February 14, 2015
Time: 7:00pm
Venue: Paramount Event & Conference Centre
(222 Rowntree Dairy Road, Woodbridge)
Tickets: Adults $135 / Kids Under 12 $65
(Call Spyro 416.881.5298 to order your tickets)

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MC: Todd Shapiro of The Todd Shapiro Show
SirusXM – Canada Laughs Channel 168
Monday to Friday 4pm to 6pm

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For more information on Mountain of Smiles
be sure to check them online and “LIKE” them on Facebook.

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Tattoos for Toys

The holiday season is in full swing and that means it’s time again for one of my favourite things, TATTOOS FOR TOYS! Haven’t heard of it? Well let me fill you in. My good friend Derek Lewis of Lewis Family Tattoo Co. is a pretty awesome guy not to mention a crazy talented tattoo artist who happens to have an insanely huge heart. Well, every year he puts on an event in support of SickKids Hospital right here in Toronto and collects toys for the kids who are in the hospital during the holidays.

Wanna help out? It’s pretty easy! All you need to do is drop off a new unwrapped toy to Lewis Family Tattoo Co. at 2235 Dundas St. West (Tuesday – Saturday) and as a thank you they will enter your name into a random draw for your chance to win 1 of 2 prizes of $300 worth of tattoo work.

10438124_676697565781135_4181881038572248002_nSo when you’re out an about at the mall doing your Christmas shopping think of the kids who will be spending their Christmas in the hospital instead of at home with their families. Pick up an extra gift for them and be the reason that they smile on Christmas morning. As Derek said “In times like these the parents of these kids are preoccupied with other life issues to manage festive gifts or cheer. So I’m calling on all of you. If we all just pulled together and dropped of one toy, it would make a HUGE difference!”. Derek is totally right and together we can make a difference, so let’s start now!

For more information on the Lewis Family Tattoo Co.
“LIKE” them on Facebook and “FOLLOW” them on twitter and instagram.

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Just 2 sleeps away from making a difference…

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We are just 2 sleeps away from the CIBC Run for the Cure and I couldn’t be more excited! Not only is this an amazing event but the cause is one that affects us all…directly or indirectly. If you don’t know someone first hand that has been diagnosed with breast cancer you probably know a few through others who have and when you think about it you’ll realize just how scary it is.

On Sunday, October 5th Canadian’s across the country will be coming together to run for those in our lives who have either fought a battle against breast cancer or are fighting one now. It’s a day to create awareness, raise money and get one step closer to creating a future without this horrible disease. Together we can make a difference and do something for our children so that they can have the chance to grow up in a world where they don’t have to worry about breast cancer.

Now here is your chance, this is where YOU come in! YOU can make a difference! YOU can help fight and give strength those who need it! YOU can make a donation and help this worthy cause. This Sunday the Chic Mammas will be at the Kortright Centre in Vaughan running for a cure and your support would be greatly appreciated. Make a donation to the Chic Mammas team today by clicking here and remember that no amount is too small…every penny counts!

TOGETHER WE CAN DO THIS!

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September is all about…

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When you think of September many people think of the end of summer and heading back to school right? What you probably didn’t think about is childhood cancer. Did you know that September is childhood cancer awareness month?

Did you know that…

~ There are about 10,000 children living with cancer in Canada today

~ Each year, about 1500 cases are diagnosed

~ Because of significant advances in therapy, 78% of these children will survive 5 years or more, an increase of almost 46% since the early 1960s.

~ More than 70 percent of children diagnosed with cancer become long-term survivors and the majority of them are considered cured. However, long-term effects of surviving the treatments for childhood cancer can affect these children’s futures.

~ In the early 1950s, less than 10 percent of childhood cancer patients could be cured.

~ Leukemias, tumors of the brain and nervous system, the lymphatic system, kidneys, bones and muscles are the most common childhood cancers.

~ In Canada, childhood cancer remains responsible for more deaths from one year through adolescence than any other disease; more deaths than asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and AIDS combined.

~ Childhood cancers have close to a 75% cure rate, with leukemia leading the success charge with close to 90% overall cure rate.

~ About one in four children who are diagnosed with cancer will die of the disease.

~ With a mortality rate of close to 25%, Canada loses tens of thousands of years of potential life each year to childhood cancer. In terms of potential life saved, childhood cancer rank second only to breast cancer.

~ Childhood cancers differ from adult cancers. Adults are most affected by breast, lung, prostate, bowel and bladder cancers. Children are most affected by acute leukemia, tumours of the brain and nervous system, the lymphatic system, kidneys, bones and muscles.

~ Leukemia is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in children, comprising some 30% of the total new cases diagnosed each year. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common form and comprises about 75% of these cases. Peak incidence is at two to three years of age, with boys 20% more likely to contract the disease. Survival rate is now 95%, with a 30% relapse rate.

~ Lymphomas and cancers of the central nervous system are the second most diagnosed children’s cancer, at 17% of total cancers diagnosed.

~ Sarcomas, or cancers of the muscles, bones, nerves, fat, blood or connective tissue are next at 12%, with boys 25-30% more likely to contract this form of cancer.

~ Neuroblastomas, which represent 95% of tumors in the sympathetic nervous system, represent 5% of all childhood cancers.

Help spread the word and create awareness for this cause because after all the children need us.
For more information on childhood cancers click here.

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