The Helping Families Blog


We are excited to announce our 2017 Board of Directors

Chairmen of the Board – Topher Baptiste
Vice Chair – Erin Rooney
Treasurer - Helen Stock
Secretary – Terry Brost
Members at Large - Kirsten Schroeder
Members at Large – Kendra-Mae Brost
Members at Large - Matt McConnell
Members at Large - Shelly Dubois

We look forward to an amazing year!



Annual General Meeting Notice
Monday, January 30th, 2017

Helping Families Handle Cancer is holding our Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday February 16, 2017 from 6:30 PM- 7:30 PM at #5113, 333 96 Avenue NE. This is a chance to hear what we have been working on for the past year, review financial statements, elect board members and hear about what we have planned for this coming year. This is a chance for members of the community to learn more about how we help families that have a child battling cancer, ask any questions about the foundation, and express interest in joining one of our committees. Annual General Meetings are open to the public. Any newly elected board members are asked to stay afterwards for our first meeting of 2017 (7:45 PM- 9:00 PM). Please email carie@ helpingfamilieshandlecancer.com if you have any questions about the nomination process of how to become a board member or to RSVP. We hope to see you there!



Feeling Love Through Art
Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Helping Families Handle Cancer recently hosted their first Art Exhibit and Auction fundraiser April 23rd in Lethbridge at the stunning Galt Museum. Set on the edge of the Oldman River valley, the event brought an evening of art perusal and purchase, silent and live auctions, good food, cold drinks and delightful company. The primary purpose of the evening was to raise awareness and funds to support the Helping Families Care Program. The Program allocates funds to support families in and around the Lethbridge area who need to travel to Calgary for medical treatment for children who are battling cancer.

Two very strong Care Program recipient families brought the purpose of the evening into stark reality, explaining just how critical the support of Helping Families is for the families in Southern Alberta. Sean Rooney, father of Dominic Rooney (a magical young boy who fought leukemia for 2 years and passed away September 2015) shared his story and how Helping Families has become part of mom Trish and Sean’s community, and how they are forever grateful. It was an emotion filled speech that resulted in not a dry eye in the museum. Later in the evening Alyssa Fraser, a 17 year old battling a rare form of hip bone cancer (Pseudomyogenic Hemangioendothelioma), prepared a speech with her family that was delivered on her behalf. Alyssa couldn’t attend the event, thankfully because she was at a volleyball tournament.

We are so proud to announce that the inaugural Lethbridge Art Exhibit raised $14,000! The event would not have been as successful without the amazing support of event sponsors including Wawanesa Insurance, Stranville Living, Don G. O’Brien, Where the Wild Things Grow Early Learning Centre, media sponsors Global Lethbridge and 98.1 The Bridge, and After Party hosts Plum Restaurant. Keep your eyes peeled for our next Art Exhibit in Lethbridge in 2017!

Written by: Erin Rooney
Art Exhibit Chair/Helping Families Board Member



Helping Families Art Exhibit - Lethbridge!
Monday, April 18th, 2016

We are super excited! This Saturday we are bringing our popular Art Exhibit Charity Event to Lethbridge! We have currently hosted six of these art events in Calgary and we can’t wait to make it the most successful event in Southern Alberta. When we first founded Helping Families, we were naïve to think that the only families who really stay at the Alberta Children’s Hospital were from Calgary. It turns out that families travel from all over the country to get treated here. The families that travel from out of town to seek cancer treatment for their child are at an extreme disadvantage. They are away from their home, away from their support network, and are affected by their finance income during this time of crisis.

Our Art Exhibit will help us be able to help more cancer families from the Lethbridge/Coaldale area. Saturday April 23, 2016 is a night to check out some local artwork while hearing about some amazing cancer kids.



It's our pleasure to announce our 2016 Board of Directors

Chairmen of the Board - Adam Pickering
Vice Chair - Topher Baptiste
Treasurer - Helen Stock
Secretary - Lorraine Pickering
Members at Large - Belinda Mendes
Members at Large - Chelsea Thiessen
Members at Large - Erin Rooney
Members at Large - Heather Knight
Members at Large - Kirsten Schroeder
Members at Large - Matt McConnell
Members at Large - Sarah Bragg
Members at Large - Shelly Dubois



Annual General Meeting Notice

Helping Families Handle Cancer will be holding our Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Wednesday January 20, 2016 from 6:30 PM -7:30 PM. Charities hold AGMs as a chance for the public to be able to hear and ask questions all about the work that charity did the year previously. We will be conducting business at our meeting by electing a Board of Directors, receiving informational copies of our accounts, reviewing fiscal information for the past year and updating our members on past activities, as well as our vision for the coming year and how to best serve our families who battle cancer with their child. This meeting is open to the public and we would love to see you there. To get the address for our meeting or to get additional information on applying to be on our Board of Directors, please email us at carie@ helpingfamilieshandlecancer.com. Any elected Board Members will be staying afterwards for the first Board Meeting of 2016! We hope to see some new volunteers, who will ultimately inspire us and the families we serve.



It's All About The Eeeps!
Friday, September 4th, 2015

We were hit hard yesterday with the news of one of our cancer kids passing away. You might have heard of him, his name is Dominic Rooney. In fact a lot of people have heard about this 2 year old boy because he touched so many of our lives. Once you heard about him or met him he would steal a piece of your heart, and you would willingly give it away. Following his passing, the Calgary Flames, Vancouver Cannucks, and Country 105 put up a social media posting honouring Dom, as this little trouper made friends everywhere he went. I still remember the first time I met Dom, as I went about meeting this new cancer family at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. Dom was only two and had spent the majority of his life in a hospital, battling AML (Leukemia). There was never a day that I was in that building that I wouldn’t stop by and visit him. He would walk me around, want wagon rides, kisses, dancing or would giggle while slaying me with his Darth Vader litesabre (which was bigger than he was and quite cute to see him walk around with it). When I wasn’t able to visit him, I would get the odd phone call from him. Dom wasn’t able to talk, so the phone call consisted of squeaks and what we like to call “Eeeps”. He really liked talking on the telephone when he was feeling well enough. I even plotted to kidnap him once, although I probably shouldn’t admit that here. He was just that cute!

His Mom and Dad (Sean and Trish) are equally as loveable, after all it is their personalities that shaped Dom into the amazing little man that he was. Sean began writing a blog and thousands of people tuned in to read what the family was up to next. His last blog post alone had 23,000 views. Dominic passed away at 11:45 AM, Sept. 3, 2015, while on his wish trip to Disneyworld. It was like he wanted him Mommy and Daddy all to himself without any interruptions, so he took them to Florida to make sure that would happen. Maybe in some backwards way, he really did get his wish.

Our foundation would like to send our hearts out to Sean and Trish as they process their loss as well as their special moments together. Dominic will always remain our little hero.

Written by:
Carie Stock
Executive Director

Photo credit: Jennifer Friesen



Absolutely Perfect
Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Welcome to the first ever Helping Families Blog post. This post is following a heartfelt weekend which was in all sense of the word absolutely perfect. Yesterday some Helping Families volunteers and I went grocery shopping and cooked a dinner at the Ronald McDonald House, with their Home for Dinner program. The house gives families a roof over their head when they need to travel to a different city for their child to get medical treatment. On average, the house is usually represented by 1/3 of the families being childhood cancer families.

We received a tour of the house last December, and in doing so, we found out that the house had a cooking program where groups or businesses could come in a cook for all the families that were staying there. Immediately the Helping Families team wanted to get involved. We put the word out to some of our board members and cancer families who have received support from a Ronald McDonald House in their journey and immediately got two of our Care Program families who wanted to give back to the community. One of these families stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in Toronto, as their daughter Dallis is battling cancer tumors in her eyes. The other family stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in Edmonton when their son Malcolm, who sadly has now passed away, battled Leukemia and open heart surgery, caused by medication used in his cancer treatment.

I also had cancer as a child. I was diagnosed with terminal cancer (Rhabdomyosarcoma, a then rare cancer) when I was one year old and battled it until I was 7. At one point my Mom and I traveled to Toronto for a special surgery that wasn’t performed here in Calgary. My Mom stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in Toronto for three months.

Our group of board members, cancer families, and other Helping Families supporters rolled up our sleeves to provide a home cook meal for families who wouldn’t have one otherwise. For the families who have been helped by a Ronald McDonald House, it was a chance to bring our journey full circle, to give back to an organization that was there for us when we needed it the most. It was a heartfelt experience, from beginning to end. A few of the families we support who were living in the house came by to introduce themselves, many of them I have only talked to on the phone, by email or text messages. It was so nice connecting face to face and to be able to give them a big hug.

After dinner most of the volunteers headed home, but my Mom (Robyn), Cheryl, Heather and I went across the street to the Rotary Flames House to see a very special little guy – Dom, I have talked about Dom a lot and these girls had come to know him from Facebook posts. Also Dom’s Dad (Sean Rooney) spoke at our Art Exhibit gala last year. We were all so touched by his story and always have people asking Helping Families how he, his wife (Trish) and Dom are doing. We brought three balloon animals that walk/trail behind the person who is holding the string. Immediately, Dom started giggling and squeaking. He loves wagon rides more than anything else so we took him up and down the hallways with his new balloon animals trailing behind him. He would turn around, watch them following him and laugh. That was the perfect end to a perfect day and a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Written by:
Carie Stock
Executive Director

Note from Trish Rooney: Everyday we have to take his animals for a walk. Lol