Like most charities, Cystic Fibrosis Canada (CFC) has been financially impacted by COVID-19, with revenues down 40 per cent and many of the in-person fundraising events the organization’s volunteers and partners host across the country shifted to virtual formats, including its annual 65 Roses gala reimagined as the 6 Feet Away Soirée.
“The 6 Feet Away Soirée is an example of how our tireless volunteers took a beloved gala tradition and transformed it into a fresh virtual experience complete with wine tastings and a performance by two-time Juno award winner Dan Mangan,” says Kelly Grover, president and CEO of Cystic Fibrosis Canada. “Events like these are important fundraising initiatives, but also opportunities to bring the community together under the banner of hope and possibility.”
When COVID-19 hit, the cystic fibrosis community demonstrated its tenacity, quickly refocusing on how it could still deliver a meaningful experience to donors while raising important funds.
“This soirée is evidence that grit and a sense of community can outshine even the toughest of circumstances,” adds Ms. Grover.
CFC has also introduced new ideas such as Quest4CF, a socially distanced scavenger hunt by car, to ensure it can reach its community and provide experiences that inspire and raise funds.
“As we look ahead, we will continue to be innovative, to also look for new sources of funding and to stay laser-focused on the needs of our community and how we can be there for them,” she says.
But Ms. Grover notes COVID-19 has been especially difficult for those living with cystic fibrosis (CF), who are at a particular risk for serious lung infections and who need regular access to CF clinics and life-sustaining medications. CFC quickly adapted to the new and changing priorities for people living with CF and has been rapidly developing programs and resources to help the CF community during this health crisis. These include:
The creation of new resources to connect the thousands of people in Canada affected by CF to key government supports, resources for physical and emotional health, caregiver resources, and a COVID-19 Q&A.
The co-ordination and sharing of information on changes to clinic operations across Canada so CF patients know how and where they can receive essential regular care.
Keeping the information hotline open in English and French to provide one-on-one support to anyone living with CF who needs help.
The continued implementation of a new Ask the Experts Webinar Series where CF experts answer the most pressing questions on COVID-19 and CF.
COVID-19 has, in some ways, allowed many to experience what someone with cystic fibrosis lives with every day – physical distancing, meticulous hand hygiene and the very real possibility of getting very sick, says Ms. Grover.
“On this National Philanthropy Day, we are thankful to our community who inspires us everyday to remain hopeful and to never stop pushing to lengthen lifespans and improve lives of those living with cystic fibrosis,” she says.
For more about CFC and the 6 Feet Away Soirée: cysticfibrosis.ca
Produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.