Local Look: Sarah Shuts Out Childhood Cancer
Meet Sarah - 10 year old hockey goalie for the Northeast Eagles and creator of the 'Shutout Childhood Cancer' fundraising campaign. For each goal let in, Sarah donates $1.00.
For each shutout, Sarah donates $5.00.
All from her own piggy bank!
This campaign raises money for pediatric cancer research, being donated directly to CancerCare Manitoba's pediatric trials. Donations enable CCMF to fund nearly 50% of the trials available for participation in Manitoba.
Sarah has been playing hockey for 4 years now; training 2 times a week, attending training camps, and doing extra practices to excel as a goalie.
The 'Shutout Childhood Cancer' campaign was inspired when Sarah received a donation request letter from CancerCare Manitoba, looking to raise money for childhood cancer research. Sarah immediately wanted to contribute to the cause. Instead of making a simple donation, she began her own fundraising campaign, combining her love of hockey with a way to fundraise.
Sarah did not know anyone directly affected by childhood cancer, but she did know a few people who had and currently have cancer. As a 10 year old, it is difficult to fully grasp a disease like cancer, but Sarah recognized that the children diagnosed were not given a choice but to grasp it. So she took it upon herself to learn about the disease too.
2 out of 3 childhood cancer survivors suffer long term side effects from treatment
1 in 5 children will not survive their diagnosis
1500 children will be diagnosed with cancer in Canada this year
The goalie was most shocked to learn the amount of children affected by cancer in Canada. That is why donating to CancerCare Manitoba was important for her, as she was able to donate directly to pediatric cancer research.
Last hockey season, supporters were asked to match Sarah's donations throughout the year. The fundraising goal began at $1,000.00, then was pushed back to $2,000.00, and was exceeded soon after.
Most of the funds were generated through direct online donations to the CancerCare Manitoba donation page. Sarah's father, Ken expressed that they only took cash from family and friends, relying heavily on the online traffic to drive donations. "It's easier to share it through social media and avoid handling cash", said Ken.
*wink wink nudge nudge at funding change online raffles*
With focusing on social media to drive awareness, Sarah and her parents set up accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The fundraising campaign helped Sarah to build a fan base online and even catch the eye of her hockey hero, Shannon Szabados. The two-time Olympic gold medallist matched Sarah's contributions. The next day Sarah was contacted by goal tender, Bob Klem who fundraises for Pancreatic Cancer Research in Kansas City.
After getting this kind of attention from professional hockey players, Sarah was surprised and feeling pretty good about the impact it would have. In an interview with Global, she said "It kind of makes me feel bad because they’re giving up their money, but it also makes me feel good because they’re trying to help me raise money.”
The final cheque presented to CancerCare Manitoba was for $3,550.00!
Sarah expressed that she was most nervous about signing this final cheque to CancerCare Manitoba. Although she is the creator of the campaign, she is quite timid when it comes to talking about it or receiving any attention for it. Her humble approach makes it evident that she is motivated by helping the cause, rather than receiving recognition and praise.
Although she is nervous in promotional type settings, she does not get nervous before a game. "I knew it was just for fun and that I would be donating money for it", she said. "Between each period I would think to get a shutout so I could donate more money". It was the actual playing hockey that was her favourite part of the campaign, having fun with team mates and knowing it is raising money to help kids.
When I asked for the hardest part of the campaign, Sarah jokingly replied; "having my Dad as the assistant coach". Although this is a difficult balance for many parents coaching their children, they did express that they got to spend a lot of time together and it made them closer as a result.
Father Ken, has recently began playing hockey in his own adult recreation league. With him also playing in the goalie position, it has made for a healthy rivalry with his 10 year old daughter.
So what's new for this year?
Sarah's goal is to double the fundraising dollars of last year, aiming at a whopping $7,100.00. This means Sarah and her family have a very busy season and a lot of work ahead of them. As the new goal was stated, Sarah turned to her Father, "Daddy, I need to borrow your piggy bank, I don't have any more money". I'm sure she will find a way to raise that money throughout the season, without having to break her Father's 'piggy bank'.
The campaign is growing and exciting things are in the works. We cannot wait to see what the "Shutout Childhood Cancer" campaign is able to achieve this season and what Sarah accomplishes throughout her goalie career and life.
Huge thank you to Sarah and Ken for visiting our office. Best of luck in the upcoming season of hockey and fundraising!