The Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign (GCWCC) is an extension of what public servants do: improve the lives of Canadians. In 2018, public servants and retirees gave close to $30 million to charities across Canada as part of the GCWCC.
To see how donations make a difference, we invite you to read the stories of people whose lives were changed by GCWCC donations. Together, we can have a tremendous impact on the lives of those in need. Our gifts matter.
Canadian Liver Foundation: Funding research is funding treatment options for kids like Jack...
“Nothing can prepare you for seeing your child go through something like that.”
Nicole’s son Jack came into the world fighting for his life. At only four months, he suffered end-stage liver disease caused by biliary atresia – a liver disease with no known cause that affects the bile ducts and leads to severe liver damage. With no way to reverse the damage, he needed a liver transplant to survive.
“I felt like my life was falling apart under my feet,” says Nicole.
Her prayers were answered when a hero – an organ donor – saved Jack’s life. But Nicole’s relief was only temporary.
When he was two, Jack’s new liver started malfunctioning. His health steadily deteriorated over the next six years until finally doctors said he must have another transplant.
A month after his ninth birthday, another hero came to the rescue and Jack received his second transplant.
Today, Jack is growing and thriving thanks to the sacrifice of two strangers but sadly, not every child with liver disease is so lucky.
Biliary atresia is the most common reason children need liver transplants. With support from HealthPartners, the Canadian Liver Foundation is funding research that will one day make it possible to treat childhood diseases like biliary atresia without transplants.
Cystic Fibrosis Canada: Canadian researchers are raising life expectancy for people like Tamy...
“When you give to the cause of cystic fibrosis, it allows me to live longer.”
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a rare disease affecting over 4,300 Canadians or roughly 1 in 3,600 live births. CF is a progressive, degenerative multi-system disease that affects mainly the lungs and digestive system.
With her sparkling eyes, gentle smile and joie de vivre, 19-year-old Tamy Mailly often leaves others in disbelief when they find out that she has cystic fibrosis.
The doctors were even more surprised to see the screening tests come back positive when she was barely two years old because the disease is extremely rare among Haitians.
Despite having to follow a strict routine every day to stay healthy, Tamy considers herself lucky: “I’ve seen patients with more severe cases of cystic fibrosis than me who have to be fed intravenously. They end up in the hospital even more often. I’m lucky to be home."
Since 1960, Cystic Fibrosis Canada, a HealthPartners member charity, has invested more than $244 million in leading research, innovation and care, resulting in one of the world’s highest survival rates for Canadians living with CF. With the help of organizations like Cystic Fibrosis Canada, researchers are a source of hope for every child with cystic fibrosis.
Heart & Stroke: Supporting advocacy for women’s heart health helps save lives. Angie's story...
“If I can save just one woman’s life this will all be worth it.”
Angie MacCaull of Summerside never expected to experience heart disease: she is active, not overweight, not a smoker and is only 45. In fact, she has no risk factors. Angie’s on-again/off-again symptoms were at first thought to be her gallbladder. Then, she was diagnosed with acid reflux within days of embarking on a cruise out of Miami, and was cleared by the attending physician to travel. However upon arrival in Miami, Angie again began experiencing frightening symptoms.
Once she got back to Prince Edward Island, Angie underwent stress tests and a dye test that revealed serious issues, including eight blockages in her coronary arteries. She subsequently underwent triple bypass and the replacement of her aortic root. The surgery didn’t totally resolved the cardiac issues; she was told that she still has 30, 40, and 50% blockages. Despite this, she has been making a good recovery while awaiting an opening for cardiac rehab, walking five kilometres each day and doing everything she can to ensure a return to good health – and to work.
Angie is anxious to get involved with the Heart and Stroke Foundation, one of HealthPartner’s charity members, as a survivor spokesperson.
Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada: Karen’s dream of freedom came in the form of a scooter...
“Without the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, I would still be dependent on others to buy my groceries.”
Being able to get to the grocery store seems like a simple dream, but for Karen, who has been disabled by multiple sclerosis, it’s not so simple.
After losing the strength in her right arm, right leg and left eye, Karen lost her driver’s licence. A mom, she depended on the goodwill of friends to drive her once a week to the store, “but like everyone else, I would run out of food mid-week.”
She phoned the local chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada for help, and help came in the form of a scooter. “Remember the feeling you had when you learned how to drive? You could go wherever and whenever you wanted without having to ask anybody to take you. That’s what I had.”
Thanks to the Multiple Sclerosis Society, one of 16 national health charities working under the HealthPartners umbrella, Karen’s dream was granted.
The Kidney Foundation of Canada: Harvey, a volunteer, is inspired to leave a legacy...
“My admiration for The Kidney Foundation really made me want to do something more than volunteer my time.”
As Harvey became more involved with The Kidney Foundation, a HealthPartners member charity, Harvey found the work and mission to be incredibly compelling. “I was, and still am, struck by the commitment of people who have been affected by kidney disease. They are always so eager to share their stories and help others who are dealing with similar issues. I found that my own commitment grew the longer that I worked with this wonderful group of staff and volunteers.”
His initial volunteer engagement led to commitments as a branch board member, eventually becoming its president, then to the national board of directors, where he was extensively involved in policy redevelopment.
Harvey’s dedication and generosity, both of his time and finances, are all the more extraordinary considering the fact that neither Harvey, nor anyone in his family, has ever been personally affected by kidney disease.
As someone who participates in numerous local events and activities, Harvey is a long-term and dedicated supporter and volunteer who has been inspired by the impact of programs and The Foundation’s commitment to research. “Given that kidney disease will be affecting more and more Canadians in the years ahead, I can’t think of a more important way to leave a lasting gift.”
United Way Centraide Stories
An after-school program helped Nuhaa feel more comfortable in Canada...
“I was born in Syria, but when I was four, my family had to leave because it was too dangerous there. So, we went to Jordan. My grandparents and aunts and uncles would spend summers with us. When I was eight, we moved to Canada because my parents thought we could have a better life here. I was excited about meeting other people, but I missed my family and I was scared of going to school because I was shy. I was afraid nobody would want to play with me or be my friend because I didn’t speak English. Our neighbour told my mom about a United Way afterschool program where I could get help with homework and do activities. I have fun, and all the new people I meet are really nice, like my friend Reema. Now I feel less shy. My favourite part of this program is when we have circle time. That’s when we can play a game, draw or colour. I’m happy that I get to go to this after-school program. I feel more comfortable in Canada now. I can speak English, and I’m more confident.”— Nuhaa
Travis works at a local shelter where he uses his own past to help people experiencing homelessness...
“It started when I was 15—I was removed from my family home by the police when things got really bad one day. Things didn’t get better when I graduated from high school; they actually got worse. I was still angry and hurt. I ended up hitchhiking across the country, getting into drugs and living on the streets. But in 2015, I was offered the chance to go home and get clean. A few months later, I was accepted into a United Way-supported transitional housing program for men recovering from addiction. I started doing everything I could do to avoid falling back into old habits, like volunteering at a community garden. Now, I’m studying computer science at university and working part time at a local homeless shelter. When I was at my worst, I would walk down the street and people would pretend I wasn’t there. Nowadays, people cross the street just to say hi. I want people like me to know it can get better. There are always going to be people there for you—you just have to open up and allow them in.” — Travis
When Jayce’s kids fell behind in reading, a literacy program helped them improve their skills...
“When I learned that my daughter, Nadine, was reading at a pre-K level in grade 2, it felt like a punch to the gut. I was so busy, I didn’t realize she was floating under the radar. I thought a literacy camp would give Nadine extra practice. She came home with stories about reading books with the volunteers. Within the first week, I was getting pamphlets on how to make reading fun and engaging for parents, too. My son Chase wasn’t as under the radar as Nadine was, but he was reading at a lower level. Chase deals with ADHD, but the volunteers didn’t discourage him for learning at a slower pace—they were patient with him. Reading is confidence. I can’t fully express what United Way has done for my kids. I would never have guessed that Nadine and Chase would be reading chapter books together two years later. The positive effects of literacy camp last much longer than the two weeks the kids spend there; the future of my entire family has been positively impacted.” — Jayce
Gisèle finds support for herself after her daughter’s mental illness diagnosis...
“Shortly after my daughter started her PhD in psychology in 2001, I noticed that she had become very anxious all the time, and was getting worse. She was hospitalized, and after months of tests, we got the diagnosis: bipolar disorder. I was shocked and in disbelief. I knew I needed to ask for help right away. But when it comes to your own child, you feel completely powerless. At first, I looked for help mainly for my daughter. After I found support for her, I went to an agency supported by United Way that helps families and friends of people with mental illness. I gained a better understanding of what people with a mental illness are feeling. I learned how to tell my daughter that I was exhausted and that I couldn’t always be strong. She then started paying attention to me, just like I paid attention to her. I also learned how to let go. This doesn’t mean you are giving up, but rather that you accept the situation. As a parent, you wonder if your child’s problems are your fault, but you have to let go of the guilt and ask for help. Once you feel better, you can help others.” — Gisèle
Rama and Fares not only received language training and newcomer support — they gained a community...
Rama and her husband, Fares, knew it was time to re-locate to Canada from Syria when it became increasingly dangerous to even walk out their front door. We often went through long periods without water or electricity,” Rama recalls. “When I did have to leave the house, I would say goodbye to my daughter and I would never know if I would come back or not.” When the family finally arrived in Quebec, it was huge relief. But they quickly realized they’d need more help to settle in to their new home. “It’s difficult to come to a new country where you don’t know the language,” says Rama, who taught at a local university prior to arriving in Canada. “There are so many things you need to do when you arrive, and this wasn’t always easy.” Fortunately, they met some fellow Syrians in their community who told them about a United Way agency that provides information, support and a variety of services to newcomers. “The projects and programs here not only help newcomers integrate into the community, they also help Quebeckers get to know us,” says Rama. “It lets us meet people here and talk about our different cultures—and we can practice our French!” When I think of the future now, I have hope. Rama and Fares are incredibly grateful to United Way donors like you who are helping new Canadians just like them receive a warm welcome.
Public servants and retirees are a diverse and compassionate group with a strong tradition of supporting those in need. Their reasons for giving to the GCWCC are just as diverse. Read about what motivates some of them to give.
If you have a story to share, we’d like to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
" It is crucial for us to drive our efforts towards those who are in need...."
“Being a member of the public service affords certain privileges that do not extend to everyone in Canada. As such, I recognize that it is luck, chance, and opportunity that have given me “more” than what hundreds and thousands of people experience in their daily struggles. I care because poverty and inequality form part of a system that is not disconnected from me, as a public servant and a Canadian. I give because I can. It is crucial for us to drive our efforts towards those who are in need. And it matters because, we all matter.” — Sarah Ul-Haq, Canada School of Public Service, Ontario
"Our support is essential to our community’s diversity and vitality!”
“I feel privileged to be part of the large public service family and to have so many opportunities in my magnificent adopted region. However, we must not forget to look beyond our daily bubble and realize that others have not been as fortunate. Our support is essential to our community’s diversity and vitality!” — Cédric Kinnard, Canadian Coast Guard, Ottawa, Ontario
"I feel proud knowing that my dollars will actually help change lives..."
“The GCWCC makes it convenient for me to give and I feel proud knowing that my dollars will actually help change lives. I have been privileged to see some of the impact of United Way and Health Partners’ work in our communities. One pillar of UW’s important work is to help kids be all they can be. By supporting multiple after-school programs, United Way is helping these children to feel like part of a community that cares for them. Most importantly, this provides a safe and positive space to spend their after-school hours.” — Marie-Chantale Bédard, Western Economic Diversification Lower Mainland, British Columbia
Your generous gifts are having a real impact on the lives of Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
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