Fight Like Mason Foundation

Kids Curing Cancer sets another fundraising record

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Kids Curing Cancer (KCC) revealed its 2018-19 fundraising total Friday night and it was the best yet.

KCC announced that they had raised $14,906 at various fundraisers, the biggest of which was a Feb. 16 pasta dinner fundraiser at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery and the proceeds will be donated to the Fight Like Mason Foundation.

The Baillargeon family – led by children Lauren, Kierstyn and Ty – also held a concert at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in December and partnered with the Amherstburg Minor Hockey Association (AMHA) and the Amherstburg Admirals on a “Hockey Day” in January at the Libro Centre.

This year’s efforts brings the overall total in the six years of events to $53,911.

“Nine-year-old me would not believe it if you were to tell me what the six-year total would be,” said Lauren, during Friday night’s announcement that was also held at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery.

Lauren called it “our second favourite day of the year” and noted the announcement came on a special day for the family. KCC was founded in memory of Dan Gerard, the grandfather of the Baillargeon children and father to their mother Jodi. March 8 was Gerard’s birthday.

“It’s grandpa’s birthday,” she said. “We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate and honour him.”

Lauren noted she started fundraising shortly after Gerard died, with the initial goal in 2014 being $50. That ended up blossoming to where she raised $3,860 for the Patient Assistance Fund with the Windsor Regional Cancer Centre Foundation.

The next year, KCC grew again and donated $6,280 to the Patient Assistance Fund and it grew again in 2016 as another $6,850 went to that cause, mainly from proceeds that came from pasta dinners that were held at the then-Verdi Club.

Kids Curing Cancer (KCC) made the official donation to the Fight Like Mason Foundation last Friday night at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery. This year’s total was $14,906, bringing the six-year total to $53,911 though previous donations have included the Patient Assistance Fund and the Ronald McDonald House. Lauren, Kierstyn and Ty Baillargeon were joined by Mason and Morgan Gerard (left) as they made the
donation to Iain Macri, Chantelle Bacon and Miller Bacon-Macri.

In 2017, Kids Curing Cancer decided to donate to the Ronald McDonald House and that was the year it expanded to include concerts and the Hockey Day. That year, they donated $8,304.

The pasta dinner was moved to Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery and in 2018, the Fight Like Mason Foundation was chosen as the charity of choice with last year’s total being $13,708.

This year’s total was yet another record.

“We are blown away by the generosity of family, friends and even strangers and we can’t thank (everyone) enough,” said Lauren.

Representing the Fight Like Mason Foundation were Iain Macri and Chantelle Bacon, parents of four-year-old Mason Bacon-Macri, in whose memory the foundation was started. Mason died of a form of childhood cancer in June 2016.

Iain noted there was a connection with the Baillargeons after originally meeting them and told the three youths that he was convinced their grandfather would be very proud of them for what they’ve done in raising over $50,000 for charity over the last six years.

“I don’t know how many different ways we can say thank you,” he said.

Macri praised the family for their hard work and said they are more than just partners now.

“It’s not just a team. You are part of a family now,” he said.

Chantelle noted the proceeds will not only decorate IV poles with superhero themes for sick children, but be invested back into the foundation’s community programming.

“We’re lucky enough (KCC) picked us and it’s definitely helped us to expand our programming,” Chantelle said.

Iain said it was amazing to see what the Baillargeon children have done and believes that their grandfather and Mason have become “buds” now. Chantelle added that while Mason didn’t get to go to school, he is still growing up around friends thanks to fundraisers like the ones Kids Curing Cancer presented.

Kids Curing Cancer can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kidscuringcancerforgrandpa. The Fight Like Mason Foundation website can be found at www.fightlikemason.org.

“Country at Heart” helps pair of area charities

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A sold-out crowd of 250 people attended the second “Country at Heart” fundraiser with two area charities being the beneficiaries.

The Fight Like Mason Foundation and the Windsor Regional Hospital Foundation will be the recipients of the funds raised at Saturday night’s event at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery, with the whole evening being presented by the Dan Gemus Real Estate Team.

Gemus said that 100 per cent of what was raised is going to charity. He added that $23,000 was raised at the 2017 event and he is expecting at least that much, if not more, in 2018.

The Dan Gemus Real Estate Team used to have a charity yard sale annually but the manpower to operate it became too much. They changed their focus and decided to present a gala event, only one where they could enjoy themselves and remain casual at the same time. Since many on the team enjoy country music, “Country at Heart” was born.

Ashley Lynn and the Spurs were the headline performers at Saturday night’s “Country at Heart” fundraiser at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery. It was presented by the Dan Gemus Real Estate Team.

“We decided to do something that doesn’t call for us to dress up,” said Gemus.

Throughout the years, Gemus said they tried to direct their fundraising towards charities that don’t get as much attention as larger causes. The Windsor Regional Cancer Centre Foundation helped use funds towards renovating a third-floor ICU waiting room at the Met Campus, with that floor not getting as much fundraising dollars as other areas of the hospital, Gemus explained.

The Fight Like Mason Foundation, he added, is a newer charity that is helping to fight childhood cancer in memory of Mason Bacon-Macri. Mason’s parents Iain Macri and Chantelle Bacon founded the charity in Mason’s name after he died in June 2016 at the age of four.

“What (the Fight Like Mason Foundation) is doing is absolutely amazing,” said Gemus.

Iain said they vowed to Mason before he died that they would continue to fight childhood cancer and one of the ways they are doing it is through “power poles,” which are IV poles decorate with superhero themes. The “power poles,” whether they be used in the hospital or at home, are designed to help children with cancer feel at ease.

Bacon added that despite being a registered charity for a little less than one year, the Fight Like Mason Foundation has raised almost $150,000.

Attendees at “Country at Heart” dance to the music of Adam Butcher last Saturday night. The event was presented by the Dan Gemus Real Estate Team and held at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery.

Richard Vennettilli, president of the Windsor Regional Hospital Foundation, praised Gemus and his team for their efforts, noting the third-floor waiting room at the Met Campus wouldn’t have been renovated without proceeds from “Country at Heart.”

“He’s been doing amazing work,” Vennettilli said of Gemus.

Gisele Seguin, director of philanthropy at Windsor Regional Hospital, added “it’s wonderful what you are doing for patients and families.”

The evening featured a barbecue meal featuring ribs, chicken, potatoes and other “grub,” a dessert bar and musical performances by Adam Butcher and Ashley Lynn and the Spurs.

Kids Curing Cancer donates $13,750 to Fight Like Mason Foundation

 

By Jonathan Martin

 

It’s not very often a 13-year-old deals with $13,750.  It’s even rarer that they decide to hand it off to someone else.

Nonetheless, 13-year-old Lauren Baillargeon, along with her younger siblings Kierstyn and Ty, did just that last Sunday when they revealed the amount they’d raised for local non-profit Fight Like Mason.

“There are so many other things a 13-year-old would rather be doing,” said Fight Like Mason co-founder Iain Macri.  “I know that at 13, this isn’t what I was doing.”

Together, the three siblings make up Kids Curing Cancer (KCC).  Over the past five years, they, along with their mother Jodi, have donated more than $39,000 locally to combat the disease.

“We’re not going to stop now,” said Lauren.  “Until cancer is cured, we won’t.”

This is KCC’s most successful year to date.  Over the past five years, its response has grown steadily.  The Baillargeons attribute that to a successful awareness campaign.

“Before we even had a venue (for KCC’s fund raiser night), we had people calling and asking us to save them tickets,” Jodi said.  “We’ve also partnered with Fight Like Mason, which is huge in our area.  Everybody’s heard their name.”

Lauren Baillargeon, Kiersten Baillargeon and Ty Baillargeon of Kids Curing Cancer stand beside Fight Like Mason co-founders Chantelle Bacon and Iain Macri at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery last Sunday. Kids Curing Cancer presented $13,750 to the charity.​

The Fight Like Mason Foundation was created by Iain Macri and Chantelle Bacon after losing their four-year-old son, Mason Bacon-Macri, to rhabdomysarcoma, a form of childhood cancer.  Fight Like Mason funds cancer research and provides custom palliative care supplies to youths suffering from the disease.

KCC was created in the memory of Dan Gerard, the Baillargeon siblings’ grandfather.  KCC raises and donates money to cancer-fighting initiatives.  In the past, recipients have been the Windsor Cancer Centre Foundation and Ronald McDonald House.

Both organizations said they do what they do for the same reason.

“We’ve taken the loss of the kids’ grandpa, who they were incredibly close with, and turned it into something positive,” Jodi said.  “Obviously, we still miss him and wish he was here with us, but for the kids to be able to hold up his picture and be proud and know that he would be proud of them is incredible.”

“We thought we would do Mason no greater honour than to carry on his name, way of life and legacy in the form of a foundation,” said Macri and Bacon.  “To turn this life-shattering tragedy of losing a child into something positive.”

The charities exchanged gifts after the reveal of funds.  KCC brought a book for Fight Like Mason about “loving and caring about someone you have lost.”

Fight Like Mason handed each of the children a pendant in the shape of an M to commemorate the work they’d done together.

Both charities expressed an appreciation for the other and said they hope to work together again in the future.

 

Kids Curing Cancer presents sold-out fundraiser

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

It was a night that featured food, music and superheroes and, like in previous year’s, a local elementary school student helped organize it.

Kids Curing Cancer (KCC) returned Saturday evening with a new venue – Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery – and it drew a large crowd to support the cause. This year’s proceeds will benefit the Fight Like Mason Foundation, a charitable organization set up in memory of Mason Macri.

Macri succumbed to cancer June 27, 2016 when he was only four-years-old and the Fight Like Mason Foundation was created shortly thereafter.

“Everything is awesome. It’s just what we expected and more,” said Lauren Baillargeon, a Grade 8 student at Malden Central Public School who helped organize the event with the help of her family. “We are sold out at 250 tickets.”

As of Sunday night, the dinner raised over $7,000 with donations still coming in. Combined with other fundraisers, such as KCC’s recent “Hockey Day,” they have surpassed $12,000.

Ty, Lauren and Kierstyn Baillargeon stand with Mason Macri’s parents Chantelle Bacon and Iain Macri at Saturday night’s Kids Curing Cancer fundraiser at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery.

Kids Curing Cancer was started in memory of her grandfather Dan Gerard, who died of cancer in 2014. This year’s event was the fifth annual. It originally began when Baillargeon, with the help of her mother Jodi, helped make bracelets and ended up raising over $3,800.

“Everyone knows my grandpa. Everyone knows the hard work we are doing,” said Baillargeon. “People want to help as they have had someone who died or who went through cancer.”

The family never thought Kids Curing Cancer would grow like it has.

“I never thought it would get this big,” said Baillargeon. “I thought it would be one year of selling bracelets. That’s it.”

Baillargeon said they love their new venue, noting they had been there before for other events and came away impressed.

“We had no doubts about coming here,” she said. “It’s beautiful so why not stay here?”

Music has been a big part of their family with Baillargeon getting a love of music from her grandfather. That was demonstrated at the Kids Curing Cancer fundraiser when the family, including Jodi, Lauren, and Lauren’s siblings Ty and Kierstyn took to the stage.

“When you love what you do, it just kind of loves you back. My grandfather loved music and it loved him back,” said Baillargeon. “It’s part of what we do now. It’s become a tradition.”

Lauren Baillargeon and Kenneth MacLeod perform Saturday night.

The event saw over 100 door prizes donated.

“It’s all our family, friends and neighbours,” she said. “It’s awesome.”

Previous KCC fundraisers have benefited the Windsor Cancer Centre Foundation and Ronald McDonald House. The Fight Like Mason Foundation will use its proceeds towards its programs.

KCC held a concert late last year at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church and held the annual “Hockey Day” at the Libro several weeks ago.

“It’s so amazing,” said Chantelle Bacon, Mason’s mother. “Kids are helping other kids in honouring Mason. It’s overwhelming. It’s beautiful.”

Lauren Baillargeon sings as members of the band, which includes family members, perform around her at the Kids Curing Cancer benefit Feb. 17 at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery.

“These kids are honouring him by raising money,” added Iain Macri, Mason’s father. “You can’t ask for anything else. It’s amazing to watch.”

Both Kids Curing Cancer and the Fight Like Mason Foundation can be “liked” on Facebook with KCC’s Facebook site being www.facebook.com/kidscuringcancerforgrandpa. The Fight Like Mason Foundation’s website is www.fightlikemason.org.