Our History and Milestones
1987 - The Beginning
We were founded in 1987 by Edwina Eddy who had lost her son, Bryan (at 17) to acute myelogenous leukemia. The chemotherapy drugs that can successfully treat the children today had not been discovered and he had no chance of survival when he was diagnosed in the 1970s. He challenged his mother to "do something" to help the kids that would inevitably come after him. He wanted kids to know that there was hope and that somebody was doing something to help.
Candlelighters - Parent Support
After Bryan's death, Edwina came up with the idea of starting a support organization and collaborated with an organization in the U.S. called Candlelighters, a family support network. The Candlelighters name came from the expression "it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness".
Candlelighters was under the wing of the Canadian Cancer Society for a few years in the 1980's. The major work in those early years was to help develop family support groups across Canada. Many of these were run by parents who had had a child with cancer. At the height, there were more than 50 such groups in Canada, and many included the name Candlelighters. These groups offered emotional and practical support to local families during the long treatment protocols that the children endured.
2002 - Investment in Research
A major change in the direction of the Foundation came in 2002. The Directors of all the pediatric hematology/oncology departments in Canada's 17 children's hospitals and treatment centres decided that a collaborative approach to research would get better results faster. The relatively small numbers of children being treated for cancer divided by the more than 40 types of cancer that are unique to children meant that research into children's cancers was sporadic and fragmented. These top doctors came together under the name of the Council of Canadian Pediatric Hematology Directors and through that the Foundation became the primary funder of clinical trials and pediatric cancer research through the newly formed C17 research network. We changed our name at that time to the Childhood Cancer Foundation - Candlelighters Canada illustrating the new direction of our work and fundraising requirements. Since those critical formative years, we have given more that $4 million to the C17.
2010 - Our New Name
Today, we have become more energized and more dedicated to funding national research while continuing to deliver critical education, community and connectivity programs.
As we focus on increasing survival rates for even the most deadly forms of childhood cancer, we felt we needed a name that was more focused to represent an organization that has become even more proactive and determined to improve health outcomes and quality of life for children and adolescents with cancer.
Childhood Cancer Canada - we have a new name and a new logo - connecting the nation in a common cause.