I usually say we launched The Tory Day Fund on June 8, just a bit more than three months after we said good-bye to Tory.
It’s not exactly true, though. The spirit of the campaign originated on February 9 with a sweet, simple text between friends. Always hopeful, Tory and her girlfriend Deb were conspiring about their plans to drink wine and do other girl stuff when Tory got back on her feet. Tory already had bigger plans:
“I’ll fundraise for chemo beds.”
She knew firsthand how much comfort one piece of hospital furniture brought her, and wondered why a bed was a luxury rather than standard equipment for her and other cancer patients. The chairs in which she sat for more than twenty chemotherapy treatments were fine, but the bed gave her a chance to rest peacefully, to sleep, and just be more … comfortable.
After she died a few of us met with the Sunnybrook Foundation to see how we could fulfill Tory’s wishes, and we had a modest goal: raise enough money to buy one bed for the Odette Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook. (And I had no idea how expensive these things are: at least $30,000!)
So how did we do?
Team Tory, we raised $68,256.64!
We more than doubled our original goal, and far exceeded our stretch goal of $50,000. In just four months.
So where will the funds go? Well, it turns out that it’s not as easy as simply buying more beds for the centre. They take up double the real estate that chairs do, which means half the number of patients can be treated – not a good thing for a treatment centre. So that has turned into a longer-term goal, when the centre can accommodate more space.
In the short term, you already know about the “buddy program” that will see a team of volunteers greet new chemotherapy patients at Odette before their first treatment and make their first day less dizzying. That program launches on November 6 and is entirely funded by The Tory Day Fund.
I’ve spoken with a number of people in the fundraising community and most are blown away by the success of our campaign in such a short amount of time. That we were able to raise so much money AND initiate a new program in the span of just a few months is astounding.
We’re also investigating other initiatives, like making more high-quality wigs available (each one costs at least $2,000!), and plan to see if we can bring the “buddy program” to other cancer centres.
So as much as we’ve accomplished, there’s still lots of work to do to bring Tory’s plans to life. This year’s campaign has ended, but the hard work is just starting. And planning for next year’s campaign is already underway. For as long as cancer continues to steal dignity and comfort from our loved ones, how can we stop trying to help?
P.S. While the campaign is over for this year, our fundraising never stops. One way you can contribute is by making a monthly donation – for as little as $10 per month, you’ll enable us to hit our fundraising goal every year. Just go here and see the “Repeat this gift?” option.