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.

Kids Curing Cancer presents its “Hockey Day” fundraiser


By Pat Bailey

She’s been responsible for helping raise nearly $40,000 in the past five years to help find a cure for the disease that claimed the life of her grandfather.

But Lauren Baillargeon is ready to pass the fundraising torch to her younger brother and sister, Ty and Kierstyn, eight-year-old twins.

The founder of Kids Curing Cancer is now in high school and starting to feel like she’s outgrown her position with KCC.

But not before finishing out a few fundraising events already planned for KCC.

Begun five years ago following her grandpa Dan Gerard’s pancreatic cancer diagnosis, the group has chosen cancer-related charities as beneficiaries of their fundraising efforts.

It started with Lauren just wanting to do something to help. Nine at the time, Lauren wanted to do a small yard sale in 2014, followed by a pasta dinner and night of music in 2015.

Despite the loss of her grandpa to the dreaded disease a few days after the pasta dinner, Lauren and her family, including mom Jodi, have continued their efforts to help battle the disease, as a tribute to their grandpa.

“We weren’t going to continue,” said Jodi, “but people asked for it.”

Like the Baillargeon family, Jodi said virtually everyone has been touched by cancer in some way.

Lauren Baillargeon, removes the arm band from Morgan Hadfield’s arm, with Ty and Kierstyn, while the 12-year-old’s Gibb Insurance Peewee Blue team looks on. (RTT Photo by Pat Bailey)

So on Sunday, Lauren and her team of volunteers hosted its “Hockey Day” at the Libro Centre in Amherstburg.

Armed with arm bands and the memory of grandpa in the forefront, Lauren and her group were busy outfitting the competing hockey teams with arm bands, collecting pledge sheets from the players, gathering donations, selling themed cookies provided by Sweet Moments, selling raffle tickets on a team Canada jersey autographed and donated by Amherstburg’s own favourite goalie, Michael DiPietro.

But she wasn’t alone.

In addition to the twin duo slated to take over the reins, Ty and Kierstyn, and of course mom Jodi, Lauren once again had a loyal group of friends more than willing to lend a hand.

Like his big sister, Ty is already becoming well versed in the world of fundraising.

“It’s cool,” he said, “we don’t even have to ask people to volunteer–they just show up.”

Lauren echoes his sentiment.

She feels grateful for the support of her close-knit group of friends, as well as the community.

In fact, she’d like to give the players and community the recognition for making the day so successful.

But there are a few others who have already helped make their upcoming pasta fundraiser an overwhelming success.

Sprucewood Estate Winery will play host to the group’s big pasta dinner on Feb. 16 and has gone above and beyond to ensure its success.

Volunteering their time for ‘Hockey Day’ in Amherstburg Sunday were back row, Emma Pillon, Abbie Johnson, Kayla Renaud, KCC founder Lauren Baillargeon and Autumn Kaldeway. Front, Kierstyn and Ty Baillargeon. (RTT Photo by Pat Bailey)

Lauren said they have waived the rental fee and the chef has donated the food.

“Everyone’s been so generous,” she said.

And Jodi said the event is almost sold-out, with just a handful of tickets still available.

While the amount raised Sunday is not yet known, Lauren said the proceeds will benefit this year’s charity of choice, The Fight Like Mason Foundation.

Jodi said it was a meeting with the founders, Mason’s parents Chantelle Bacon and Iain Macri, that convinced them it was an amazing organization worthy of their fundraising efforts.

Jodi said they offered some incentives for the teams raising the most money.

She said the top fundraising team will earn a team set of tickets to enjoy a Windsor Spitfires game, while players on the top three teams will receive a special “Fight Like Mason” memorial puck.


Fiddling event raises over $700 for Kids Curing Cancer



By Ron Giofu


Kids Curing Cancer (KCC) has returned for their fifth year of helping to combat the disease and fundraising efforts started Sunday afternoon.

Fiddlers, including KCC organizer Lauren Baillargeon, performed at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in what is the first of at least three major fundraising events for KCC. This will be the second straight year that KCC will donate its proceeds to the Fight Like Mason Foundation.

The recent “Fiddle Extravaganza” at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church topped $700.

The Kids Curing Cancer event, featuring founder Lauren Baillargeon (right), was held at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.

KCC donated just over $13,000 this past year to the Fight Like Mason Foundation and hopes for more this year. They have raised $39,000 overall for cancer-fighting organizations.

“We had so much fun partnering with them last time,” explained Lauren, a Grade 9 student at General Amherst High School. “We wanted to stick with them and support them for another year.”

Lauren said they have been monitoring the progress the Fight Like Mason Foundation has been making locally and they are happy with what they are seeing.

Lauren’s mother Jodi said the other two fundraising events will be the Hockey Day in January at the Libro Centre and the main dinner fundraiser Feb. 16 at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery. A final date has yet to be chosen for the Hockey Day but the Amherstburg Minor Hockey Association is on board. The Amherstburg Admirals have also helped with that event.

The Feb. 16 event will feature a pasta dinner, a live auction, door prizes and more. Tickets for that are $25 with children ages 3-10 being $10. Children under three are free. Tickets are selling fast, Jodi said, and anyone interested can e-mail her at jodibaillargeon@gmail.com.

Amherstburg Minor Baseball Association teams with Kids Curing Cancer


By Jonathan Martin


The Amherstburg Minor Baseball Association (AMBA) is throwing knuckleballs at cancer.

The group partnered with Kids Curing Cancer (KCC) during its annual baseball fun day to raise funds to help fight the disease.  KCC set up a tent near the baseball diamonds at Centennial Park, where twins Kierstyn, and Ty Baillargeon, two of the three siblings who founded the organization, sold sweets, raffle tickets and accepted donations.

Meanwhile, the twins’ peers knocked baseballs off tees and lobbed softballs around in diamond-wide games of catch.  The twins said they were unfazed by being left out of the fun; they prefer hockey anyway.

Lily Mallen, (Left), Ty Baillargeon and Kierstyn Baillargeon, all eight, sell baked goods at the Kids Curing Cancer booth, which was set up at Centennial Park last Saturday in partnership with the Amherstburg Minor Baseball Association.

Brook Lippert organized the day’s partnership between AMBA and KCC.  She’s the convener of AMBA’s T-Ball division.  This isn’t her first experience working with the Baillargeons.  She coached them during their own T-Ball playing days and has been friends with the family for years.

“My mom had cancer, so this is a cause that hits very close to home,” Lippert said.

Lippert’s mother’s bout with cancer in 2010 sparked “Brook’s Ride For Hope,” a fundraising snowmobile run Lippert started in 2012.

Now, though, she said she’s more than happy to help out the Baillargeons and Jodi Baillargeon, the kids’ mother, said she’s glad to have it.

“We showed up this morning and found that she had already done everything,” Baillargeon said.  “This is all Brook.”

Lippert put together pledge forms for each of AMBA’s teams to fill out.  The team that brought in the most donations would win themselves a bowling party at Amherstburg’s Fort Fun Centre.

Lippert donated the bowling party herself.

Angelo Lucier, 8, hits a ball of a tee in Centennial Park July 14. The Amherstburg Minor Baseball Association held its annual baseball fun day.

All funds raised during the baseball fun day will be donated to the Fight Like Mason Foundation, which KCC has partnered with for the second year in a row.  Annually, siblings Lauren, 13; Ty, 8, and Kierstyn, 8, choose a charity to give all the money they raise throughout the previous 12 months.

KCC has also teamed with the Amherstburg Minor Hockey Association and the Amherstburg Admirals in the past on similar fundraising events.

At the time of writing, the total amount of money raised throughout the day has not been announced, but RTT has been assured that the results will be made available on the organization’s Facebook page.


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.