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Rob Antle, from left, Andrew Belleti, Zachary Novak and Mike Auer raised funds in partnership with Joe’s Team for the Alberta Cancer Foundation and Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary.Todd Korol/The Globe and Mail

The donor: Zachary Novak

The gift: Co-founding Cancer Crusher

The cause: Alberta Cancer Foundation

A couple of years ago, a friend took Zachary Novak to a kick-off celebration in Calgary for Joe's Team, a triathlon event that raises money for cancer research.

Mr. Novak, 25, had been involved in other charities but he wanted to get involved in this one – and entice other young people to join. "Cancer is something that is close to everyone," Mr. Novak said from his office at BMO Nesbitt Burns in Calgary, where he works as an analyst. "I wanted to get young people motivated."

He teamed up with a group of friends and they launched a pre-triathlon party called Cancer Crusher. The first party, held last year, raised around $4,000. This year's event, which featured four bands, pulled in $20,000 in donations. The money will go to the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

Mr. Novak is already planning next year's party. "Our goal is to make it bigger and better," he said.