You don’t have to look far to find people whose lives have been touched by cancer.
Cam Thun’s mother had leukemia and eventually the disease claimed her life.
As the owner of several retail liquor stores in the city, Thun regularly donates profits earned from his businesses to worthwhile charitable causes. The Prince George Child Development Centre and Salvation Army are regular recipients of the Thun family’s generosity and on Thursday he presented a cheque for $25,000 to the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation - the largest single donation to Spirit Day since it began in 2017.
In total, Spirit Day raised a record $250,000.
The money Thun donated will help the BC Cancer Centre of the North purchase a precision radiation bed which allows treatment of multiple tumours in one session, which will reduce the time it takes for each treatment and allow more patients to be treated at the facility in downtown Prince George next to the hospital on Lethbridge Street.
Thun said both the BC Cancer Centre and Spirit of the North have helped his family over the years and he knows that having the new radiation bed in Prince George will radically change the lives of those who need that kind of cancer treatment.
“I was born and raised here and they’ve helped out all my kids, they helped my mom and my dad, and it was just time,” said Thun. “We love giving back to the community and we thought that this was a good vehicle.
“It’s a warming feeling, because this machine targets multiple tumours at once, and up until now, everybody who was getting multiple tumours targeted, they had to leave town. Now they don’t have to leave town. It’s a serious machine.”
The precision radiation bed costs a little more than a $1 million. The $250,000 raised for that project will be combined with $200,000 raised from the BC Cancer Foundation. Spirit of the North is able to secure matching donations to raise the total to close to what‘s needed to buy the bed.
Thun $25,000 donation helped a “dream team” of high-profile business leaders and politicians raise more than $155,000 in one hour Thursday afternoon. The $250,000 total eclipsed the record one-day (12-hour) Spirit Day total of $110,000 set last year.
“What a cool experience, they just called their contacts and got a ton of money raised for something that’s going to have a huge impact in the north, ,” said Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation CEO Aimee Cassie.
“They’ve still got donations coming in for (the dream team) and for all other areas. It’s the most humbling experience to watch the community come together like that.”
Spirit Day also brought in money targeted for some of the foundation’s other projects. Some of the donations will go to for seniors health and wellness initiatives, while other funds will the pediatrics and neonatal intensive care unit at UHNBC to pay for more our Giraffe (incubator) care stations for newborn babies. Some of the money raised from previous Spirit Day fundraisers built an adolescent calming room for children traumatized by loved ones being treated for medical conditions, which recently opened at UHNBC.
“We had incredible volunteers all day and the teams were phenomenal, they all came in fired-up and excited to raise funds for their various areas,” said Cassie. “We saw a lot of support for the Giraffe care centres and a ton of sponsorship for seniors health and wellness this year.
“It never ceases to amaze us what Prince George accomplishes, it is THE most generous community.”