Quintuple Match Opportunity - The Beer Store

Quintuple Match Opportunity - Beer Store

Quintuple your impact today

Help change the blood cancer experience today! 

The Beer Store, a longtime supporter of the Canadian blood cancer community, will match your donation 5 times, up to $150,000!

At the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada, we play a critical role in supporting Canadians affected by blood cancers. From enabling participation in clinical trials offering the latest treatments to providing emotional support and educational resources, we strive to help everyone touched by a blood cancer.

Your gift today – quintupled by The Beer Store – will help facilitate access to a wide array of services, each carefully tailored to meet the unique needs of those affected by a blood cancer – people like Ollie and his family.

Give today, transform tomorrow.

$150,000 Matching Opportunity

 

Ollie’s story of determination and resilience
 

In August 2019, Ollie was just your average seven-year-old boy, enjoying a warm and busy summer with his family. One day, Ollie’s sister Abby pointed out what appeared to be a round sunburn on Ollie's neck.

A grueling three months later – after an ultrasound, X-rays, an MRI and a variety of blood tests – Ollie was diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma, a rare, aggressive cancer.

A day that won’t be forgotten
 

Ollie's neck, which has a large red bump that looks like a sunburn. Explaining a cancer diagnosis to a child is heartbreakingly difficult. For Ollie, it became too much; he began to plug his ears and talk loudly, normal escapism. The oncology team spent hours with Ollie and his family, answering every question they could think of.

“Life becomes surreal the moment you get a diagnosis that you have a critically ill child,” shares Dawn, Ollie’s mother. “There’s no time to process or feel all of the big feelings as you are reeling and trying to learn everything you can about your new reality.”

The family learned Ollie would have an intensive treatment period of at least six months, starting with chemotherapy.

Ollie in hospital bed with toysThe doctors were very positive and assured Ollie they were going to cure him. They explained that Ollie’s first 12 days of treatment would involve shocking his system to kick start the chemo and attack it. These were incredibly difficult things for a mother to hear, but Dawn remained strong and focused on the task at hand: supporting her son. “Ollie and I giggled over the image of his lymphoma cells being attacked with laser guns and disintegrating, leaving those dead cells as powder,” she shares.

The strength of family in the face of adversity
 

“When Ollie began treatment, our oncologist told me the most important thing was not to lose hope,” recalls Dawn. “My job was to believe that Ollie was going to get well, and to make sure he believed it, too.”

Ollie smiling and hugging his mother Dawn outside beside a bench.That wasn’t always easy. Ollie experienced two relapses. During the first, the cancer spread to his spine and brain. It had devastating results: Ollie was in extreme pain daily and had dangerously low sodium, causing seizures.

And then, the unthinkable: Ollie lost his eyesight, permanently.

Understandably, Ollie was exhausted, frustrated and depressed. There were only a few treatment options available to him and already several had been tried, unsuccessfully.

“As a parent of a sick kid, you are the parent, nurse, advocate, psychologist, coach, physiotherapist, miracle worker and enemy of fun,” remarks Dawn.

“You have to do so many unimaginable things to get your child to take the medicine, get the pokes, do the exercises and keep going no matter what.” 
~ Dawn, Ollie's mother

Ollie hugging his fatherThroughout these challenging times, the family shared daily talks with Ollie about determination, resilience and survival, reminding him of how much he had already overcome.

“Navigating the world of cancer while parenting together must be one of the ultimate tests of a relationship,” reflects Dawn. “For me and Mario, we fight as one, and we never wavered in our common goal of getting Ollie well and supporting our family through what will likely be our greatest challenge.”

A sister’s gift of life
 

Ollie and his sisterAfter several treatment options didn’t yield results, a drug designed to treat lung cancer was finally successful in putting Ollie’s cancer in remission. Ollie was now stable enough to undergo a stem cell transplant. He received the gift of life – a half-match stem cell donation – from his sister, who was just 11 at the time.

Ollie marked the end of his four years of oncology treatments in the summer of 2023.

“We never take for granted how very lucky we are to be here today,” Dawn says. “We are so thankful for all the support we’ve received, including from organizations such as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada.”
 

Soaring to new heights
 

Ollie on his skateboardNow 11, Ollie is back at school and has found a way to keep doing many of the things he loves, including hockey, karate and skateboarding, the number one thing he was looking forward to once he got better. 

Showing no challenge is too tough for Ollie, he is working with an instructor to relearn how to skateboard – soaring to new heights while performing daring tricks – despite his blindness.

With Ollie now adjusting to his new normal, the family tries to focus on the positive, while being prepared for further health issues that may arise. Among many other post-cancer side effects, Ollie faces the possibility of a secondary cancer when he’s older, as a result of the treatments that saved his life.

Help fund critical services supporting children like Ollie.

$150,000 Matching Opportunity

About this match opportunity

The Beer Store and its 6,500 employees have been proud supporters of LLSC since 2001. Many of their employees are members of the United Food & Commercial Workers Local 12R24 who at a grassroots level sparked the movement, and through the years have been instrumental in organizing initiatives to raise funds and drive awareness of LLSC. Through events, bottle drives and other fundraisers, and the support of communities, they’ve donated more than $23 million in support of blood cancer research and services. 

Please note: while The Beer Store is an Ontario-based retailer, this matching offer is available to all Canadians — and funds raised will help the blood cancer community from coast to coast to coast.