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The Friends for Life MasquerEight Ball is one of several fundraising galas organized by, left to right, Erick Bauer, his wife Stefanie Cali, and Steve Cameron. (JEREMY KIERS FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL)
The Friends for Life MasquerEight Ball is one of several fundraising galas organized by, left to right, Erick Bauer, his wife Stefanie Cali, and Steve Cameron. (JEREMY KIERS FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

GIVING BACK

In sickness and health, they’re fundraising Friends for Life Add to ...

The Donors: Erick Bauer and Steve Cameron

The Gift: Raising $500,000 and climbing

The Causes: Cystic Fibrosis Canada and Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children.

Erick Bauer and Steve Cameron became best friends in elementary school but when they both turned 16, their relationship changed.

Mr. Cameron was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of blood cancer, and spent months in the hospital undergoing chemotherapy. Mr. Bauer had been battling his own illness, cystic fibrosis, and stayed close by his friend’s side.

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“Erick was the one guy who could relate to what I was going through and how hard it was to have to wake up every morning knowing you are going to potentially die early,” recalled Mr. Cameron, 28, a mortgage broker in Toronto.

“We really did kind of develop a unique friendship,” added Mr. Bauer, 28, who is a marketing consultant in Toronto.

Mr. Cameron has been in remission for several years but Mr. Bauer continues to struggle with CF, taking 50 pills a day and spending hours in treatment.

About eight years ago, they created the Friends For Life Foundation and began raising money for Cystic Fibrosis Canada and the oncology unit at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. Since we last caught up with them two years ago, they have raised an additional $350,000 through galas in Toronto and recently expanded the events to Calgary.

The foundation “is just one more thing that has brought us closer together,” Mr. Bauer said.

For Mr. Cameron, the fundraising has a deeper meaning. It’s a chance to pay back Mr. Bauer for his support and raise more awareness for CF. “When you walk day to day alongside a guy who is dying, your focus is on what can we do for him and how can we help him out?” he said.

pwaldie@globeandmail.com

Follow on Twitter: @PwaldieGLOBE

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