Lauren Baillargeon

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 sold out fundraiser

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A sold out crowd at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery packed the house in support of Kids Curing Cancer (KCC) over the weekend.

KCC, spearheaded by the Baillargeon family, featured live music by the family as well as head shaving, a pasta dinner, door prizes, a live auction and more, all in support of eradicating cancer. This year’s proceeds, as they were last year, will be donated to the Fight Like Mason Foundation.

Chantelle Bacon and Ian Macri, parents of Mason Macri, presented Lauren, Ty and Kierstyn Baillargeon with hockey jerseys from the Fight Like Mason Foundation last Saturday night. Kids Curing Cancer held its annual fundraising dinner at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery.

The dinner raised $8,454 with the final total for this year from all events to be known in the coming weeks. Other events included the AMHA Hockey Day, the AMBA Baseball Day, T-shirt sales and musical events.

Lauren Baillargeon, a Grade 9 student at General Amherst High School, helped found KCC with the help of her family in memory of her maternal grandfather Dan Gerard. She said the public rallied behind the pasta dinner fundraiser again this year.

“We had so much support again this year,” said Baillargeon, noting auction items included an autographed Zack Kassian stick and a signed Michael DiPietro Team Canada jersey. “We could hardly do it without the support of everyone.”

There were also over 150 door prizes, she said.

“It’s pretty overwhelming to see how one family can bring all of these other families together in one room to celebrate this one night,” she said. “It’s keeping grandpa’s memory alive.”

The Baillargeon family took to the stage to perform the music while Lauren’s younger brother Ty had his head shaved for the cause. Her sister Kierstyn was also part of the band. Baillargeon said the Fight Like Mason Foundation, started in memory of Mason Macri, is a great cause.

As for who might be next year’s charity of choice, Baillargeon said that is yet to be determined.

Geordie Johnston (left) shaves off some of Ty Baillargeon’s hair during
Saturday night’s Kids Curing Cancer dinner at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery. The event raised about $8,454 with the haircut alone earning $240.

“We have someone in mind but it’s still undetermined,” she said.

As for how her grandfather would react if he saw what was going on, Baillargeon said “I think he’d be proud.” She said six cardinals landed on the roadway on their way into Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery last Saturday and they took that as a sign that he is watching over them.

“That was touching just to see that,” said Baillargeon.

Mason Macri, for whom the Fight Like Mason Foundation was started in memory of, died of a form of childhood cancer in June 2016 at age four. His parents – Ian Macri and Chantelle Bacon – were also at the fundraiser with Ian stating proceeds from KCC helped them assist other children with paediatric cancer. He noted they met the “three amazing (Baillargeon) kids” at a Tim Hortons in Essex and they have since become like family.

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.

Catholic Women’s League’s “High Tea” popular with local ladies

 

By Jonathan Martin

 

Columbus Community Hall was filled to the brim with tea, music and very fancy hats thanks to a recent sold out event.

The St. John the Baptist Catholic Women’s League’s (CWL) annual high tea was once again held at the hall, and, as in previous years, the event sold out.

According to CWL president Sharon Barron, all 150 tickets were gone “almost immediately.”

Bernice Deslippe listens to her friends chat at CWL’s high tea event. (Photo by Jonathan Martin)

“That (ticket number) is really all we can handle,” she said.  “We make all of the food ourselves.  We were here until late last night and were back early this morning preparing it.”

The menu featured a variety of sandwich types, scones, desserts and, of course, tea.  Between the wide assortment of refreshments and the incredible variety of hats, the afternoon was certainly one of heterogeneity.

While the women munched, sipped and chatted, Lauren Baillargeon and Allison Brown provided entertainment in the way of country fiddle, ukulele, mandolin, guitar and vocal tunes.

In addition to playing music, 13-year-old Baillargeon does a little bit of fund raising of her own.  Along with her mother, brother and sister, she has raised around $40 thousand in the fight against cancer.  She and her siblings have even earned themselves a nickname.  Together, they make up the Kids Curing Cancer (KCC).

“All of the money I’m making today will be going towards that,” she said. “The money they will be giving me tonight, the CD sales and the tips from the (instrument) case will all be going to it.”

By the end of the night, Baillargeon had added another $778 to KCC’s list of raised sums.

Carol Laing poses for a photo at the Columbus Community Hall. The Amherstburg Catholic Women’s League used the venue to host their annual high tea. (Photo by Jonathan Martin)

All the CWL’s proceeds were donated to Saint John the Baptist Parish and to local charities.  Its revenue came from ticket sales and purchases from an “accessories table,” where attendees could pick up wearable baubles, purses and the like.

“The generosity of our women is amazing,” said Barron.  “They’re very involved both within the church and in the larger community.  They have very big hearts.”

If the recent event was any indication, they also have very big hats.