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Since selling his advertising agency, Geoffrey Roche has been doing pro bono work for charities including the Heart and Stroke Foundation and CAMH.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

The donor: Geoffrey Roche

The gift: Advertising campaigns for charities

When Geoffrey Roche sold his advertising agency four years ago, he thought he'd left the industry for good and turned his attention to a number of new ventures.

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Then the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada approached him about helping them refine their messaging. Mr. Roche was intrigued. He'd worked with the charity before and he had a good friend who'd suffered a severe stroke.

"Heart and Stroke have nowhere near the kind of money that other charities have and they are not the sexiest," Mr. Roche, 63, recalled from his home in Toronto.

He came up with a new branding campaign that includes a series of radio, newspaper and television ads as well as a partnership with retailer Roots.

The ads focus on "FAST" – the symptoms to look out for to recognize a stroke (face, arms, speech, time). Mr. Roche is now doing similar volunteer advertising work for OCAD University and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

"This is joyful because you are doing something for the greater good and that just makes it so much easier to work hard," he said. "I feel very lucky to be doing something that I love."

pwaldie@globeandmail.com

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