On Saturday, April 20, 2013, Kitchener Rangers alumnus and current New Jersey Devils forward David Clarkson was recognized with the Joan Schatz-Belisle Fundraising Volunteer Award by the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (POGO).
The award is given annually to a volunteer or group that demonstrates a passion for POGO’s mission and commitment to POGO’s fundraising goals. Clarkson was recognized this year for his continued work through the Kitchener Rangers’ Clarky’s Kids Program. Clarky’s Kids provides children from Grand River Hospital’s POGO Satellite Centre the opportunity to experience the excitement of a Kitchener Rangers game and visit with players and coaches in and out of the hospital. As well, this program continues to raise funds that aid in the support of local families and siblings dealing with a child that has cancer.
David’s parents Kim and Eric Clarkson attended Saturday’s Gala event in Toronto on his behalf.
“We were pleased to represent David at POGO’s Annual Gala. David is thrilled to be able to support POGO and very humbled by this honour. POGO provides outstanding support and work for childhood cancer and has been a beneficiary of the Kitchener Rangers Clarky’s Kids program for more than five years now.”
To learn more about Clarky’s Kids and how you can help support local patients and families dealing with childhood cancer, visit the Clarky’s Kids webpage.
This year’s POGO Gala aimed to raise awareness and funds for POGO SAVTI counsellor’s and Childhood cancer aftercare. Childhood cancer survivor and POGO Ambassador André Boothe shared his amazing story with the guests during the evening’s affair.
By the time he was 16 years of age, André Boothe was a three-time childhood cancer survivor. His history with the disease reads like this: Diagnosed with neuroblastoma at 6 years old, treated with chemotherapy; Relapsed at age 8, treated with surgery, more chemo and a stem cell transplant; At age 15, diagnosed with leukemia, treated aggressively with chemo, full body radiation and a bone marrow transplant.
André missed out on a lot of things because of cancer. When he got leukemia, he missed his whole grade 12 year and fell behind the rest of his class. When he finally finished high school, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do, or what he could do, given all of his challenges—which are more than just physical. André has trouble with his memory and his fine motor skills—making it hard to study and take notes.
That’s where his POGO SAVTI counsellor comes in. They have been working together to match his strengths with his interests, research schools and complete applications for college and scholarships. She is able to work with the college Disabilities Office to ensure he receives the accessibility services he will require to successfully obtain the education he wants and needs. Accommodations will include things like a reduced course load and designing a class schedule that takes into account his tendency to fatigue easily and the chronic pain in his feet.
André is an active volunteer and mentor to young kids who are facing a critical illness. He created a video in hopes that young survivors will see the light at the end of the tunnel and know that it will get better. Watch the video at http://www.pogo.ca/care/savti/andrestory/.
The Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (POGO) was founded in 1983 by a group of pediatric oncologists to champion childhood cancer care and control. As the representative voice of the childhood cancer community, POGO works to ensure that all of Ontario’s children have equal access to state-of-the-art diagnosis, treatment and required ancillary services. The aim is to make certain that Ontario’s children have the greatest prospects for survival with an optimal quality of life. To learn more about POGO and its programs, visit their website.