Thursday, October 29, 2015

Walk the Walk: CBCF Team Fundraises BIG for the 2015 CIBC Run for the Cure

The old adage ‘give where you live’ couldn’t be more appropriate for the strength of fundraising power generated by my admirable and passionate colleagues here at the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. To date, our staff/friends and family team has raised more than $23,000 for the 2015 Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure and the dollars are still coming from offline donations! 

I cannot express how grateful and humbled I am by the interest, engagement and fun competitive spirit demonstrated by my team members who represent all departments of our 26 member strong team, here in the office in Vancouver. September and October represent the largest revenue generating months by the Foundation and our staff are working most intensely from August to November for the lead up and follow up to these busy activity months, especially in October – Breast Cancer Action Month. Yet with all this work activity, everyone was hard at work fundraising for our signature event.

As the CIBC Run for the Cure Development Manager, my primary role is to develop and execute an overall fundraising and stewardship plan to support our existing participants and donors in nine Run sites across the province and grow revenue by prospecting new teams and individuals. This plan is implemented not only by members of the Run team, but most importantly by dedicated and committed volunteer fundraising Run Directors and coordinators across the province who provide a local connection to their participants. We could not implement the stewardship we do without our amazing and hard working volunteers who check in regularly, but respectfully, by phone, email and sometimes in person with top fundraising team captains and individuals.

Abigail Thom (Left) and me at the
CIBC Run for the Cure in Kelowna
A sincere thank you to our top fundraisers across the province for the outstanding fundraising they demonstrated individually and collectively. We gratefully acknowledge the top individuals and teams fundraiser for the 2015 event. Our top fundraisers consistently account for approximately 65% of the funds raised in this province. Without the hard work of these top fundraisers, we could not fund the research and education programs we do. Thank you for your active and engaged participation. 

The stewardship the volunteers and I provided to individuals and teams is the same support I applied to the CBCF staff this year.  You know what? – it not only worked, but it exceeded my expectations. We set a team goal of raising $10,000 so we have easily doubled this! How did we do it? How did we knock our fundraising out of the park?

I truly believe it is based on the strength of the “ask” and the connections that every single staff person has to the breast cancer cause. Everyone’s high level of dedication and their passion for their roles here at CBCF transcended to their immediate networks of family, friends, industry peers, neighbours, etc. People give to people. Our CBCF team members reached out far and wide to their individual networks and they shared their personal reasons for why they raise money for the CIBC Run for the Cure.  They shared connections to the cause, be it they had a friend or family member affected by the disease or if they were inspired by a CBCF Local Hero.

I feel blessed to be involved in fund development work that is so meaningful to me and to have the privilege to interact and engage daily with so many inspiring women who are either going through treatment, are living with breast cancer, or are dedicated to the cause in memory of someone dear. But on top of that, I work amongst a team of intelligent, hard-working, empathetic, energetic and creative women who not only talk the talk, but walk the walk every single day. Thank you to everyone on the team for illustrating the power of collective team fundraising and inspiring me even more in what I do.

Lisa Capitanio
CIBC Run for the Cure Development Manager
Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation

Sunday, October 25, 2015

What the Shoppers Drug Mart Holiday Beauty Gala Means to me

Working at the Shoppers Drug Mart in the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre, I meet patients every shift that are affected by breast cancer. Seeing these brave women has hit home with me that breast cancer really can affect anyone. Taking part in the Holiday Beauty Gala is another chance to support those women. My team is thrilled to be able to make a difference!

Being a Shoppers Drug Mart Associate Ambassador at store #255, Langley Crossing, I share the commitment that the company has made to improve the health of all Canadian women in body, mind and spirit. Doing my part to help our community is a core value that I hold dear. I cannot think of a better way to help improve the early diagnosis of breast cancer throughout our province than helping mammography services be made available to remote locations of British Columbia. This is why the partnership of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and Shoppers Drug Mart is so complementary and valuable.

In my very first week as Associate-Owner of Shoppers Drug Mart, Langley Crossing, my team approached me about holding a barbeque to help raise funds for CBCF. So we organized one to coincide with our Beauty Gala and raised over $1,500 that day! I realized then that my team was dedicated to making a difference. This year, we have a poster up near our staff room and are using it to encourage employees to post about the Holiday Beauty Gala over their personal social media pages. We are tracking the ticket sales and offering prizes to those who sell the most tickets.

So what exactly does the upcoming Holiday Beauty Gala on Saturday, November 7 mean to me? 

It is an event where women can feel great about getting gorgeous and conversing with their community, friends and family. Shoppers Drug Mart holds these types of beauty events regularly for our customers, so having a chance to make it even better by helping CBCF and the breast cancer cause motivates us to have the best gala possible! We are going all out for this Holiday Beauty Gala – our event will include makeovers, eyebrow threading, hair styling, facials, some delicious food and of course, many glamorous prizes! This is our chance to pamper our customers and women supporting the cause.

Shoppers Drug Mart employee, volunteering at the 2015 Spring Beauty Gala.

So, book a date with beauty — it is a great chance to learn some new makeup tips, mingle with some fantastic people, have a glamorous makeover, enjoy a meaningful event and support the Foundation! Purchase your tickets in-store today.

Shenaz Singh
Shoppers Drug Mart Associate Ambassador
Store #255, Langley Crossing

Shenaz has been with Shoppers Drug Mart for over 10 years, starting as a Pharmacy Assistant in 2004. She graduated from UBC Pharmacy in 2009 and has been an Associate for five years. She has worked for over 20 Shoppers Drug Mart locations and has been an Associate-Owner of three locations (currently two). She is extremely proud to be a part of a company that is the trusted leader in taking care of the whole you.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

My Interview with Sandi – the Areola Tattoo Artist

In May 2015, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) granted Eagle Ridge Hospital Foundation (ERHF) $50,000 for their Areola Tattoo Clinic (an areola is the small circular area, in particular the ring of pigmented skin, surrounding a nipple). This will ensure that over 250 women receive areola tattoos – tattooing a new areola to a reconstructed breast – free of charge.

I was fortunate to visit Eagle Ridge Hospital at the cheque presentation with two other CBCF representatives. We met ERHF staff (they are so lovely and supportive), a breast reconstruction surgeon, a breast cancer survivor, the areola tattoo artist and clinical nurse, Sandi Saunier, and were given a tour of the clinic. Sandi shared stories about how she became involved; it was fascinating.

I left feeling inspired to contact Sandi and interview her for our blog. I wanted to share her story and spread the word about the work that she is doing to help women post-surgery. I’ve purposely saved Sandi’s story for October, as it is now Breast Cancer Action Month. Sandi is making a difference and taking action. Sandi is a hero in my eyes (though she doesn’t look at herself way – but she is). Allow me to share our interview:

Q1: Tell me about yourself and how you got started with areola tattooing 

I am a registered nurse and I started the tattoo clinic. I’ve been at Eagle Ridge Hospital for three years and prior to this I was at Surrey Memorial Hospital, where I started their tattoo clinic in September 2009. The clinic was then moved to Eagle Ridge in 2012.  I work closely with plastic surgeons who communicated that many women, post-reconstructive surgery, were not completing the process because they were either not comfortable going to a tattoo artist, or they did not have enough money.

Once we received funding so that women could receive areola tattoos free of charge, Dr. Dao Nguyen, the plastic surgeon at Eagle Ridge that oversees the tattoo clinic, asked me if I’d be up to the challenge – obviously I was!

Initially I was trained by a nurse from Kentucky that did areola tattooing. I also took a medical tattooing course and learned about performing both areola and cleft lip tattoos. Lastly, I spent time with a non-medical tattoo artist to see if I was comparable and watch his technique.

Q2: Tell me about your experience as an areola tattoo artist

I’ve completed close to 1,000 procedures, and practice makes perfect! I’m constantly researching and finding ways to better my service.

Sandi Saunier, Carol Shields and Dr. Dao Nguyen.

Q3: How did receiving the grant from CBCF make you feel?

It was a huge sigh of relief, because I was somewhat restricted on how many patients I could see per year. Usually I’d have to take two months off from the tattoo procedures because there was not enough money. The waiting lists were getting longer and patients couldn’t receive the procedures because there was not enough funding.

Eagle Ridge is part of the Fraser Health Authority, but I get calls from people outside of Fraser Health too. With my new additional funds, I’m now able to look after women in the entire Lower Mainland. I want to help everyone. 

Q4: What do you want other women to know when facing breast reconstruction?

I appreciate where every woman is coming from; every story is different. It is each woman’s choice if she wants the tattoo done or not. But I feel if she is waffling about the nipple tattoo, she must do it. It’s the easiest part of reconstruction. You don’t need a ride home, you’re wide awake and you’re talking. During our time we decide on the size, colour and shape. You’re able to bring a family member in for support, but you don’t have to. I provide local freezing so it is not painful. I am certified and can confidently say that the procedure is painless. If you’ve done the pain of reconstruction, it is truly the icing on the cake. So easy – we talk, it takes two hours, it transforms your breasts from “I just had cancer breasts” to breasts that you can actually forget have undergone anything. It goes from a mannequin breast to a real breast. I invite all of my patients, post and pre-surgery, to call and talk to me – I provide my home phone number.

Q5: Is there anything personal about yourself you’d like to share?

The joy of my job is that I am able to send off satisfied ladies. The procedure takes away some of the anxiety they may have had if they did not complete the tattoo. It’s a plus for me and plus for them.
When I was a young girl my grandmother had breast cancer. I remember seeing her and she looked like she’d been burned from her neck to her belly button because of the radiation – she had no reconstruction. When I see how remarkable these women look after reconstruction and the tattoos, I am amazed by the progress that has been made so that they don’t have battle scars. There is never a day that goes by that I don’t think about my grandma.

Watch Sandi and breast cancer survivor, Carol Shields on Shaw’s That Talk Show.


Tia O'Grady
Marketing and Communication Officer
Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation