Manitoba's Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Support Group received $20,000 last week through the Minnedosa fundraiser, 'Curling for a Cure'.  

The annual curling bonspiel is a grassroots effort to raise money for cancer-related organizations, like the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Support Group.

Winkler/Morden area resident Naomi Fehr is the Board Chair for the Candlelighters Support Group.  Fehr says the Curling for the Cure group has done an amazing job of supporting themselves and Cancer Care Manitoba.  She says the $20,000 donation from the Minnedosa curling group is helpful in a number of different ways, covering a variety of costs to cancer families.

"We send care packages to newly diagnosed families which include a pretty generous gift card that helps with some groceries and fuel costs, as a lot of our families struggle to make ends meet," explains Fehr. "We also send care packages to bereaved families as well and help pay for funeral costs."  

"And we also send packages to our childhood cancer survivor high school graduates as it's sometimes a struggle to get that motivation to finish school, and try to achieve your diploma, especially for our teens who are sick.  We just want to give them something to look forward to," she explains. "And then we also send a hot meal up to the Children's Cancer Ward every Thursday so that families who are staying with their child can get a fresh bite there."

Manitoba sees between 50-55 childhood cancer diagnosis each year.  It was through a young cancer patient in Minnedosa whose family was gifted funds from the Curling for a Cure event but asked that the funds be passed on to the Candlelighters Support Group.

Fehr says being the recipient of these funds has been a great benefit to their organization as they try to help families who are facing a childhood cancer diagnosis.

It's sometimes the things that you don't think of that makes a big difference, says Fehr. 

"So many times a family will send us a message and say, 'we ended up in hospital Wednesday and we knew this hot meal was coming on Thursday, so it made it a little big less dreadful.'"

"You know, they had something to look forward to," she adds, "or maybe a family who receives their care package just a few days after their diagnosis to know that they're not alone, that we're there to walk alongside them through their struggles."

Fehr says each member of the Board has been affected by childhood cancer and so they all know what it feels like and that it's so very important to help these families, "just to know that we can help them through these things in so many different ways."

The Candlelighters support group received $13,000 last year and now $20,000 in 2024.  "We're just honored to be chosen," says Fehr. "It' means they believe in what we do, and I think too it's that we're all volunteer.  We're all there because that's where are hearts are at. We just want to help these people through their difficult journey.