Twelve families with children under-going cancer treatment have at least one thing less to worry about this holiday season thanks to the efforts of a dedicated group of volunteers who are carrying on a tradition started eight years ago.
The Christmas Angel program was the brainchild of the late Jim Morrison who with the help of a small group of regulars at the old D’Arcy McGee’s pub on Centrum Blvd. started what was then called D’Arcy’s Angels in 2011.
That initial group of friends included Children’s Wish Foundation chair Pat Lowell, who along with Variety of Ottawa executive director Michael Brennan and Morrison’s former partner and Taproom 260 owner Andrew Quincey promised to keep the program going after Morrison passed away to cancer last October.
This year’s event, which took place on Saturday night, raised $12,000. The money will be used to purchase $1,000 in gift cards for 12 families with a child or children suffering from a life-threatening disease such as cancer, and are also struggling to make ends meet.
In the past, some of the recipients included single parent families with at least one and sometimes two children undergoing treatment at the same time.
In almost every case, at least one parent had to leave their employer in order to care for their child full time.
“Cancer doesn’t discriminate based on your income,” says Lowell. “It doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, but it effects low income families, and especially single parent families with limited resources, to a much greater degree. So anything we can do to help them get through the holidays is what this is all about.”
Besides some great live music provide by not one, but two local cover bands, the event included a live auction with items donated by local business and a raffle for over 20 prizes that were also donated by local businesses.
When it was all said and done, Lowell was thrilled at both the turnout and the money they were able to raise.
“It’s been a really great night. All the tables were full. Everyone has been extremely generous. We couldn’t ask for better, we really couldn’t,” said Lowell.
“We’re having fun. We’re raising money for a good cause. It’s too bad these families
are in this position, but it’s really a great feeling to be able to help out.”
One of the main reasons for the event’s continued success is the staff at Taproom 260 lead by manager Julie Holz.
“There’s no way we could have done it without her. She’s been absolutely amazing,” said Lowell.
Andrew Quincey’s wife Annie-Marie also played a key role in securing many of
the items for the silent auction and the raffle.
The group will now focus its atten-tion on organizing the second annual Jim Morrison Charity Golf Tourna-ment in support of the Children’s Wish Foundation and Variety of Ottawa next summer.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support of
our local business partners.)