A couple of years ago, prominent Edmonton businessman Darren Baumgardner found himself in hospital wondering if he had colon cancer. While he was awaiting his test results, he happened to get a call from a friend on the Cross Cancer Institute golf committee asking him to co-chair the annual golf tournament that raises funds for the Alberta Cancer Foundation.
“I thought, ‘Well now I have to participate,’” he says with a laugh. He continues to co-chair the Cross Cancer Institute Golf Classic, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.
Luckily, Baumgardner didn’t have cancer, but his experience was yet another reminder of cancer’s reach in his life and community. The year before, he lost his father-in-law to cancer and before that, his own father received cancer treatment. His friends and colleagues have also had their own run-ins with cancer.
“I think everyone in our community has a story about how cancer has touched them,” he says.
When Baumgardner and some of his fellow volunteers with the Cross Cancer Institute Golf Classic found out about the Cross Cancer Institute’s 50th anniversary, they saw an opportunity to celebrate the vital role of the hospital. Working with the Alberta Cancer Foundation and local advertising agency DDB, they created a fundraising and education campaign called “Show the Love” to remind Albertans of the Institute’s good work.
“We felt it was necessary to say, ‘Hey, these guys are doing some great work and we need to make them feel special,’” Baumgardner says. “That’s why [we] branded it Show the Love.”
Edmonton businessman Guy Mersereau, who co-chairs the campaign with Baumgardner and Peter Wilkes, notes that while the CCI is well-known, “it’s often thought of as a place where people go in and don’t come out.” He’s hoping the campaign helps to change that perception.
This past April, the campaign launched an official website (showthelovetoday.ca), and a number of events have been planned for the campaign over the coming months, including an October 13 football game (Edmonton Eskimos vs. the Ottawa Redblacks) dedicated to the Cross Cancer Institute. Hospital patients, staff, volunteers, and survivors will be invited to the event, and there will be several fundraising initiatives during the game.
The campaign is also being supported by a number of local greenhouses and restaurateurs who are donating portions of their sales, and by DynaLIFE Medical Labs, which has placed donation boxes at every one of its 35 locations. All of this will help raise needed funds for the hospital, says Mersereau. “[Government funding] can only do so much — there’s never enough for everything that needs to be done.”