A 10-year old’s generous gift and its direct impact on adolescents and young adults with cancer

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For his 10th birthday Josh asked friends and family to give him money instead of gifts. He wasn’t planning to buy the latest video game, a season pass to La Ronde or a cool pair of running shoes.  Josh wanted to donate his birthday money to Venturing Out Beyond Our Cancer (VOBOC), a foundation that supports adolescents and young adults (AYA) with cancer.  Why would a 10-year old be so generous?  Well, Josh learned one of his elementary school teachers had cancer and he decided to make the donation in her honour. This is the second time Josh has demonstrated true altruism to VOBOC. He made a similar gesture when he was eight years old.


It was a sunny day in April when Josh arrived at VOBOC’s offices with a jangling envelope full of bills and coins. He was eager to hand over his gift. The founder and head of Partnerships and Developmentof VOBOC, Doreen Edward gratefully accepted the donation and guided Josh around the small office to determine how the young man would like to direct his donation. She showed him a Vo-Pak, a knapsack filled with tools and resources to help patients navigate through the cancer treatment experience. Each Vo-Pak includes wellness products, a blanket, educational materials, and a Venturing Out Kit, a $50 gift certificate, that allows recipients to venture out beyond their cancer by enjoying a fun and free experience of their choosing. The Vo-Paks are given to adolescents and young adults on the first day of their cancer treatment. Josh was interested in seeing his money go to this signature VOBOC initiative.


But then Doreen opened up a Vo-Pak and showed Josh VOBOC’s mascot, a stuffed lion. From his earlier visit to the foundation, Josh recalled the lion was a symbol of the courage and strength it takes to fight cancer. Doreen explained that VOBOC was about to purchase some brand new stuffed lions for the Vo-Paks. She asked if Josh would like his donation to help pay for a portion of each and every lion. The youngster thought that would be the perfect way to use his birthday money.  And so it was decided.


Doreen invited Josh back to VOBOC’s office on Friday June 27 the day the shipment of new lions would arrive. She promised Josh the first lion out of the box as a thank you gift and Josh would also have the honour of placing a stuffed lion into each of the 50 Vo-Paks that will be distributed in the next few months to youth when they start the fight of their lives against the big ‘C’.


One small gesture, one giant impact. Thank you to Josh for his generosity and kind spirit.


VOBOC invites individuals, groups and organizations to organize fundraising events and activities on behalf of the foundation. It could be as simple as a garage sale or lemonade stand.  To find out how you can organize a 3rd party event, please give us a call at 514-695-9292.