The Greater Moncton Dragon Boat Festival is a fundraiser for the Lions Sick Children's Fund, supporting children and families throughout the tri-community.
Each year we challenge teams from local high schools, businesses, community groups, and neighbourhoods to come together to raise money for this worthy cause. What is unique about our festival is that teams can also designate 40% of the funds they raise to a charity of their own choice!
Other charities that have been supported by the Dragon Boat Festival include the United Way, Friends of the Moncton Hospital, the Cancer Society, Breast Cancer Research, the Tree of Hope, the YMCA, local breakfast programs and many, many more.
A Personal Story
Below is a personal story, written by Elizabeth Davis, of how the Lions Sick Children's Fund has helped her family and how she became involved in the Greater Moncton Dragon Boat Festival.
On March 25, 2013, after finishing a normal work day, my husband, Chris, I were called by our family doctor and asked to come immediately to the Moncton Hospital. He wanted to discuss the results of some blood work Chloe had the day before. We were met by our family physician and a pediatrician. As we sat in a small isolation room in the ER, we listened in a state of shock, to the words no parent EVER wants to hear.
“Your daughter’s blood counts are all abnormally low and she may have leukemia.... We’d like to run more tests”.
Chloe, who was 4 years old at the time, was admitted to the pediatric unit overnight and by the next afternoon was on her way, by ambulance, to the IWK in Halifax.
After a bone marrow test, much blood work and a special test to check her spinal fluid, a week later, our worst fears were confirmed. Our little Chloe was diagnosed with Pre B cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia- one of the most common forms of childhood cancer. Thankfully, we were also informed that it is also the most treatable and the most curable.
With this news, our family would begin on an uncertain journey. One of the heartbreaking realities of having a seriously ill child, is how it affects the entire family. For Chloe, it meant several needle pokes for blood tests, intensive chemotherapy treatments and its side effects, such as losing her hair and temporarily the ability to walk. For her older brother, Jaedon, it meant sharing mommy and daddy more, and at times being separated from his baby sister and one parent, on the occasion she was hospitalized. Both of our children had to experience things no one their age should ever have to. However, there is also a bright side to hardships.
Through Chloe I have learned many life lessons. Time and time again, I was schooled by this little girl on the importance of faith, courage, generosity, perseverance and the power of maintaining a positive attitude in the face of adversity. Despite the bumps and curves she faced, Chloe greeted each day with a dance in her step and a twinkle in her eye. From this, I have learned to appreciate the simple things in life so much more. Her father and I are in awe of the resilience and strength she possesses. We are extremely proud of her.
While much of this was able to be done at the Moncton Hospital, travelling to the IWK, on a regular basis, also became necessary, for check-ups with her oncology team and to receive special intrathecal chemo treatments, administered into her spinal fluid. At that time, the IWK was the closest hospital that performed this procedure.
For the first month, these trips were weekly. As she progressed through the different stages of treatment, they went to biweekly, to monthly and since November of 2014 to every three months.
The cost of these trips adds up quickly. Without the help of the Lion’s Sick Children’s Fund, paying for gas, highway tolls, parking and medications, would have been extremely difficult- on top of regular bills like a mortgage, car payment, daycare, utilities etc. With the help of the Lion’s Sick Children’s Fund, our family was able to focus all of our energy on supporting Chloe’s emotional and medical needs.
I am very happy to tell you that after 2 ½ years, last Friday she received her final dose of chemotherapy medicine. I am even more excited to say that she is officially cancer free!
While she has crossed this finish line, she will continue to travel to the IWK for checkups until she is 18 years old. Many other families, also have long roads ahead of them. On behalf of these families, I want to thank each of you for participating in events that support the Lions Sick Children’s Fund, like the dragon boat festival, as it is making a huge difference for many.
Chloe and I are very excited to be part of the races again this year. It is our family’s way to give back to charity that has helped tremendously throughout her journey. Our team is made up of Riverview High School football team members and other amazing RHS students. She affectionately refers to them as her "Stinky Boys" and they call her their “little sister”. She shines with pride at the mention of their name.
I cannot express what these students have done for both Chloe and me. Their unwavering support of her has given Chloe something positive to focus on instead of being sick. She loves them with every piece of her tiny heart and they love her. As they paddle today, it will not only be a celebration Chloe winning her fight against cancer but also for all children, like Chloe who, are little warriors. She will greet her Stinky Boys at their finish line with a smile on her face, just as they greeted her at hers.
Our team is proud to be supporting the Lions Sick Children’s Fund and the Mado’s Gift Foundation, both charities that assist children with childhood cancer. We wish all the teams the best of luck this in the races. Have an amazing day! Thank you.
(Chloe's Stinky Boys went on to win the 2015 High School Challenge Trophy, with Elizabeth Davis cheering them on.)