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Volunteer Advocate
cf insights cf insights

2017 Cystic Fibrosis Canada National Award Recipients

It is only through the commitment, courage and passion of our outstanding volunteers that we continue to improve the lives of Canadians living with cystic fibrosis (CF). Our volunteers take time from their busy lives to help make a difference in the CF community.

Congratulations to the 2017 national award recipients, together we are working towards a world without cystic fibrosis.

The Hall of Fame Award is the organization’s most prestigious award, presented to recipients who have contributed to the fight against cystic fibrosis for a minimum of 15 years and have demonstrated exemplary dedication to the mission of the organization.


Suzanne Speckert

Suzanne has devoted the past 40+ years to finding a cure or control for CF. She is responsible for helping to establish the Peterborough chapter, and for raising awareness of the disease in the community. She served two terms on the National Board of Directors, served as President for the Peterborough Chapter in the 1980s, and has organized countless fundraising events and initiatives.

Her influence has been especially profound to families who have recently learned of a CF diagnosis in their family. Suzanne offers one-on-one support and advice, and she has been a beacon of hope and strength for the many that rely on her. She inspires families to continue their fundraising and advocating efforts, and to persevere and stay focused on the vision of a world without CF.

Suzanne’s contribution to the cystic fibrosis community in Canada is immeasurable. Her dedication and commitment to finding a cure to help not only her son Wally, but all Canadians living with CF, is truly inspiring. Cystic Fibrosis Canada thanks Suzanne for her incredible contributions.

The Eva Markvoort Leadership Award is designed to recognize an individual who has displayed outstanding leadership and made an exceptional, inspirational and/or motivational contribution to Cystic Fibrosis Canada.


Jeremy Saunders

Jeremie is an active advocate for the CF community, and approaches his own struggle with CF with honesty, positivity and authenticity. He has promoted cystic fibrosis awareness and the work of Cystic Fibrosis Canada through his participation in special events as a guest speaker and agreeing to appear in a public service announcement that was shared in 2016. His enormous talent and presence as an effective speaker and personality made it possible for Cystic Fibrosis Canada to talk to strangers on the streets of downtown Toronto about cystic fibrosis and produce an excellent awareness piece. As of March 2017, the video has almost 150,000 views over 2,600 shares on Facebook. The launch of his podcast, Sickboy, demonstrated his initiative and entrepreneurial spirit. By choosing to create a voice and platform to talk about rare diseases, he also made a bigger space to talk about cystic fibrosis in Canada in a non-traditional way that has resonated with people across the country. CF Canada is honoured to have such a smart, unique and powerful voice in the chronic and rare disease conversation in Canada.

The National Champion Award recognizes service groups, corporations, companies and businesses that have provided exceptional leadership and/or financial support to the organization at a national level.


lawn summer nights

Since its establishment in 2009, Lawn Summer Nights has grown into a national fundraising phenomenon that has raised over $2,000,000 for Cystic Fibrosis Canada. By combining a unique social event with an important cause, LSN makes fundraising “fun”, all while introducing a group of young people to cystic fibrosis and the stories connected to it. The event inspires young professionals to get involved at a local level and volunteer, meet other individuals within their communities who share a passion for social change, and create an environment of positivity and continued hope towards a cure.  We are grateful to all those volunteers that make Lawn Summer Nights happen every year.

The Dr. Douglas Crozier Award is intended to recognize a healthcare professional who has demonstrated exceptional support to individuals or families living with cystic fibrosis.


dr tullis

Dr. Tullis is an internationally recognized leader in adult CF care. It is largely due to Dr. Tullis’ efforts that the adult CF clinic in Toronto has grown to be the respected service that it is, and her on-going work ensures that there continue to be new CF physician trainees, who can eventually care for adults with CF at clinics in other Canadian cities.  Her dedication to the community is tireless, and she advocates for patients on a regular basis, through her work in Toronto, and nationally through the many Healthcare Programs that she volunteers her time to.

The Volunteer Excellence Award is bestowed to those who had made an exceptional national contribution to Cystic Fibrosis Canada for a minimum of 5 years.


Francine Bernier

Francine has been a force to be reckoned with for the Montreal Chapter for over a decade. Demonstrating leadership and a commitment to the cause, Francine has made a positive impact on every aspect of the Montreal Chapter’s activities and at the provincial and national levels. With the help of her team, Francine has been responsible for many successes such as the Halloween Coin Bank and Walk. She approaches her chapter with compassion, sharing her story as a CF grandmother, and motivates others to see brighter days to come. Thank you to Francine for her dedication and passion throughout the years.



When Mitch’s son was diagnosed with CF in 1995, his first instinct was “how can I get involved and make a difference?” He immediately became an active member of the Durham Chapter, volunteering at events to raise funds and awareness. Shortly after, Mitch became the president of the Durham chapter. He used his inherent leadership skills to recruit new members, increase engagement and make the Durham CF chapter a widely recognized charity group within the community.  Mitch selflessly continued to lead the Durham Chapter, while simultaneously taking on more national responsibilities and that has made a magnificent impact on the organization. Mitch now serves as Chair of the Board of Directors.  He always gives 100% in the fight against CF and his impact is felt throughout the CF community; thank you for all you do Mitch.


Pat Magnan

For over 10 years, Pat has tirelessly volunteered her time and talents in a variety of roles with the Edmonton & Northern Alberta Chapter. From remembering everyone’s names and their stories, to saying hello and thanking every single person at events, Pat has been invaluable to her chapter. Never wanting any recognition for her contributions, Pat is caring, empathetic, and an outstanding exemplary volunteer and is continuously focused on working hard towards a world without CF. Thank you Pat for being such a dedicated and impactful volunteer.

The Breath of Life® Award recognizes outstanding and sustained contributions to a Cystic Fibrosis Canada chapter in a leadership capacity for a minimum of 3 years.


Bev Nicol

Bev has volunteered with the HOPE chapter for over 12 years, and has been the main organizer of the Walk in the chapter. Bev has a “can-do” attitude, encouraging new volunteers to help or recruiting extra help when needed, fearlessly contacting local businesses for support, and even donating to reduce costs. Bev is a shining example of a volunteer.



Lisa Livingston

Lisa became involved with the Calgary and Southern Alberta Chapter in 2012 and quickly gained the trust and support of the team. She works behind the scenes at every event, and has applied her business and communications experience to completely advance the chapter’s social media presence and align it with the national best practices. Because of Lisa’s expertise, the chapter has experienced an increase in reach and exposure for both traditional and social media. We are grateful for Lisa’s dedication and contribution in our goal to END CF.



Sandy Stevens

Sandy is known for her energy and motivation among the members of the Edmonton and Northern Alberta Chapter. From organizing her own fundraising event “Tapas and Tunes” which raised over $20,000 in 2016, to stepping up to help when needed, Sandy has a large impact on the chapter and the people within it. Sandy has, in one way or another been a part of nearly every event the chapter has offered, and gives her all to finding a cure or control. Thank you Sandy for all your hard work and dedication.


Sophie Girard (on right)

Sophie has been the President of the Côte-Nord Chapter for the past eight years. As a restaurant-owner and busy mother of four, Sophie has impressed the whole team by always being available despite a busy schedule, and with her generosity of offering free meals to volunteers at her restaurant. Sophie is dedicated to committee meetings, which she chairs effectively and with flexibility. She is always willing to utilize her extensive network of business contacts to help create a world without CF.  We thank Sophie for her passion and dedication in the fight to END CF.

The Mila Mulroney Award honours a family impacted by cystic fibrosis that had made significant ongoing contributions to Cystic Fibrosis Canada, through their continued fundraising efforts as a family.


McKenzie family

For over three decades the McKenzie family has been incredibly active in the Kitchener-Waterloo Chapter. Karen, Ian and their three sons (one of who lives with CF) have dedicated their time to raising funds and awareness. Since Karen became the Chair of the Walk, the donations have increased substantially and she is always a force to be reckoned with when it comes to raising awareness and advocating for the cause. Ian is hands-on in his role as Event Site Coordinator for the walk and can always be counted on to get the job done.  The McKenzie Family is a magnificent example of a family that embodies Cystic Fibrosis Canada’s values of accountability, excellence, teamwork and caring.


pinsky family-1

Leona and Max Pinsky are considered to be pillars of the Vancouver Chapter. From the 65 Roses Gala in Vancouver, GearUp4CF, the Breathe Campaign, Lawn Summer Nights – you would be hard pressed to find an area in Vancouver’s CF awareness and advocacy that they haven’t influenced. They have been supportive to the entire community, and transparent about their struggles with their daughter Rina’s battle with CF.  Their four children, have also made remarkable contributions, including lending their voices to speak at various events and Simon has led the Vancouver Lawn Summer Nights event for multiple years.

What makes the Pinsky family unique is the long term strategic impact that their family has had locally, regionally and nationally; from the Vancouver Chapter, the Vancouver 65 Roses Gala, GearUp4CF, Advocacy, scientific research, the Breathe Campaign, Chapter Board responsibilities, National Board duties and leading Lawn Summer Nights in Vancouver are just a few examples of what this family has been involved in.  Thank you to Leona, Max, Simon, Tova, Rachael and Rina on demonstrating the qualities of exemplary volunteers for CF Canada.



The Wilchuck family has tirelessly spent decades contributing to the South Saskatchewan Chapter by giving their time to all chapter initiatives and by spearheading their own large events. Donna and Greg have greatly increased awareness of CF in Regina and the surrounding area through their events. The Ladies Night, the Ride for the Breath of Life and the Children’s Royal Balls all draw in people not otherwise aligned with Cystic Fibrosis Canada. The Wilchuck family became involved in the fight when Donna’s lifelong best friend Karen Lackey battled with cystic fibrosis.  The impact her passing has had is what fuelled their passion to find a cure for all others impacted CF. We are thankful for everything that the Wilchuck family has done to support Cystic Fibrosis Canada over the years.

The Céline Award acknowledges a volunteer individual, couple or family who had made indispensable and sustained contribution to chapters at the “grassroots” level.


Erica Van Dorp

Erica is an inspiring young adult with CF who is always ready to volunteer and share her story where she can. Her approachable and kind nature have motivated countless people who have met her, and she even goes so far to message other CFers to lift their spirits. For the past 15 years, Erica has volunteered in the Edmonton & Northern Alberta Chapter by sharing her story at events including Lawn Summer Nights and the Ride for the Breath of Life, connecting with medical students to explain the challenges of living with CF, and informing her peers about CF. Erica always has a smile on her face despite her hardships, and is never one to back away from a challenge. We thank Erica for her incredible service and for sharing her story to inspire others.


Joanne Breeze

Joanne is invaluable to the team that organizes the Wrapping for a Cure fundraiser in Western Canada. Joanne joined the committee 7 years ago and became the Coordinator of Supplies within a few years. Her tireless devotion to the role – from finding volunteers, to returning unused supplies – has made the event the great success that it is. Joanne offers to fill shifts whenever extra hands are needed and is always prepared to do the heavy lifting. Cystic Fibrosis Canada is proud to recognize Joanne for her incredible efforts and contributions, and we are grateful for her commitment.


Rita Steiner

Rita is considered to be the anchor of the South Saskatchewan Chapter. She has held almost every position available within the Chapter and has been actively involved in CF Canada for over 30 years. Rita is always the first person to connect with new families and volunteers and makes them feel welcome in joining the CF family. She is a constant presence in Regina and inspires others with her energy, passion and pragmatic disposition. For over 15 years Rita has organized a Jazzerthon, she has been the Chair of the Walk Committee for 9 years, and she is an incredible spokesperson for the organization. Rita is a passionate volunteer and we are grateful for her tremendous contributions.

The Leadership in Advocacy Award is offered to an individual or group that has made a national contribution to the fight against cystic fibrosis through their advocacy efforts.


Christine Black

Christine has volunteered with Cystic Fibrosis Canada since 1983 and helped co-found the Campbell River Chapter after her daughter was diagnosed with CF that year. Since then, she has tirelessly worked for the cause educating the public about the disease. Most recently, in her role as the BC Provincial Advocate, Chris has helped motivate others across BC to become more active and engaged with advocacy efforts. She assists and encourages them to organize meetings with local MLAs, helps them prepare an agenda and speaking points for the meeting, and even travels from Campbell River to attend the meetings with community members to support them. Christine played a huge part in advocating for British Columbians to access Kalydeco, and she is currently working with the Government Relations and Advocacy Manager on developing a one day Government Relations and Advocacy Training. Cystic Fibrosis Canada thanks Christine for her tremendous contributions and for empowering the community.

The Julia Award is intended to acknowledge non-chapter groups or individuals who have made a sustained and ongoing financial contribution through third party events.


groupe Sani Tech

Groupe Sani-Tech and the D’Anjou family are exceptional partners who provide essential support year after year to make the Soirée des Grands Crus possible. Without their constant support over the years, their boundless generosity with their time and their devotion to raising awareness about cystic fibrosis among their network, this flagship event in the Québec area would not be possible. Louis D’Anjoum as well as his son Simon who is gradually taking the reins of the family business, constantly raise awareness of the cause among their company’s suppliers and customers, and involve their staff in the event to ensure its success. We thank them for their support and generosity.


winnipeg Kinsmen

Since 2000, The Kinsmen Club of Winnipeg has contributed over $500,000 to the mission of finding a cure or control for CF. They have supported projects such as the Walk to End CF, The Ride for CF, and The Princess Ball. The Club also generously provides the chapter with a meeting space. Their incredible financial contribution has motivated the competitive streak in other Kinsmen clubs, inspiring others to attempt to surpass this incredible amount by increasing their fundraising efforts for CF. We are grateful to The Kinsmen Club of Winnipeg for their tremendous support.



For over 10 years, Waiward has supported Cystic Fibrosis Canada’s Edmonton and Northern Alberta chapter through their annual golf tournament which has raised over $15,000 annually. Each year, contributions have steadily grown and there are plans for this support to continue. Waiward employees are engaged in the cause, and the tournament is used as an opportunity to educate participants and advocate for those living with CF. The CF community is thankful for Waiward’s contributions and support.

The Communications Excellence Award recognizes a chapter that has demonstrated overall excellence in the areas of advocacy and public awareness.


The Quebec Chapter has demonstrated an incredible amount of focus towards public awareness and has experienced increased media coverage as a result. Their major events are covered in local media, which has increased the visibility of their events. In addition, to raise public awareness of the cause of cystic fibrosis, the Québec Chapter regional committee created a new “general” Facebook page in 2016 in order to broaden its audience and relay the latest news to members in the area. The new Facebook page enables them to highlight the cause, the involvement of volunteers, the results of activities, the generosity of sponsors and partners, and to promote events. Thanks to its volunteers, the chapter was also able to recruit new sponsors and partners through awareness-raising activities during major events such as the Défibrose Mont-Sainte-Anne, the Soirée des Grands Crus, the Walk to Make Cystic Fibrosis History and the Défibrose – Rouler à pleins poumons.

The Fundraising Excellence Award recognizes a chapter that has demonstrated overall excellence in the area of fundraising.


Calgary & Southern Alberta Chapter

Despite a downturn in the Alberta economy, the Calgary & Southern Alberta Chapter exceeded their fundraising expectations exponentially. Securing sponsors and participants were expected to be a challenge, but the fundraising committees and office staff worked tirelessly to persevere. Wrapping for a Cure, 65 Roses Golf and The Princess Ball were all an incredible success and the chapter made a significant surplus of net income after operating expenses! We are thrilled to congratulate this incredible achievement and look forward to seeing the chapter build on their momentum.

The Fred Blizzard Chapter of the Year Award recognizes a chapter that demonstrates strength in fundraising, communications, volunteer development and partner support.


Hamilton Chapter

The Hamilton Chapter has been building a strong core volunteer leadership team over the past few years.  This core group has been instrumental in planning, creating and supporting their 3 key fundraising initiatives this past year as well as recruiting new volunteers who are also motivated to be involved in these initiatives.  With only 5 Executive Committee members, this chapter raised over $400,000 in 2015-16 and is on track to do the same this fiscal year.

The Hamilton Chapter has been working hard on building a strong core volunteer leadership team over the past few years and this effort has been instrumental in the success of their Chapter.  With only 5 Executive Committee members and a slew of volunteers for support they were able to raise over $400,000 this past fiscal year.  Their main event in 2016 – The Walk to Make Cystic Fibrosis History – involved over 60 volunteers and attracted over 800 participants and was the 2nd largest fundraising Walk in Canada raising over $236,000. Through personally connecting with each of the teams that joined their Walk, they were able to develop a sustainable relationship with a lot of the local families who are affected by cystic fibrosis.  This past year the Chapter took on their first ever Princess Ball with a great group of volunteers organizing it. The co-chairs and committee members worked hard to build new relationships with businesses in the community and their hard work paid off when they sold out this event for 300 people in less than 36 hours! The Chapter has been able to raise awareness through local media, raise funds through successful fundraising, and raise political interest through past advocacy efforts.  This group of passionate volunteers may be part of a small chapter but they are mighty and their level of accomplishment is exemplary to other chapters around the country.