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Employees making a difference

Volunteer Involvement Program

Air Canada employees are very much involved in their communities and The Volunteer Involvement Program (VIP) was created to support and recognize their efforts. The Air Canada Foundation award support of fundraising activities by charitable organizations for which Air Canada employees volunteer.

Air Canada Foundation supports cancer fundraiser

Last fall, through its Volunteer Involvement Program (VIP), the Air Canada Foundation provided tickets to the employee Rick Lavery, Customer Sales and Service Agent – Airport in Toronto for an event in support to The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. Rick has recently battled cancer, and so this cause is very close to Rick’s heart. Here is his story, in his own words:

The statistics on Cancer are very sobering. Cancer picks a fight with someone every three minutes of every day. Two out of five Canadians will have cancer in their lifetime. There are over 171,000 new cases diagnosed each year. In August 2011 I was one of them. My prognosis was not very positive; 3rd stage Small Cell Cancer of the bladder, a very rare, aggressive, and insidious form of cancer.

Initially I was not deemed a good candidate for an operation as the cancer was too advanced. Instead I underwent an aggressive regimen of chemotherapy in hopes of a future date in the operating room. I was one of the lucky ones and in March of 2012, I had my operation and the resulting biopsy showed the cancer was in remission.

While under treatment for my cancer, my three children wanted to do something to raise awareness and money for cancer research.

They chose to ride 200 km from Toronto to Niagara Falls in the 2012 Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer in support of The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. It was not by chance that they chose this particular venue. The Princess Margaret Cancer Research Centre is one of the top five in the world and a leader in the discovery and delivery of personalized cancer medicine. The research being done there encompasses and benefits people of all ages battling over 300 different types of cancer, not just those in the forefront of the media and public eye. The future to beating cancer will be driven by this shift in emphasis from diagnosing “Breast” or “Colon” cancer tumors but rather to determine the complete spectrum of genetic mutations in each tumor. The Princess Margaret is a world leader in this research.

Rick Lavery

Last summer my children crossed the finish line in Niagara Falls. They raised $11,300 for cancer research. My only remorse was that I was there watching them rather than riding along side. That was when I realized that I had been given a second chance and it was an opportunity I would not squander. We formed Team “Titanricks” and our 2013 Ride to Conquer Cancer had begun. It was not going to be easy to raise the necessary donations having just completed several months of fundraising for the previous ride. We needed a “big ticket” donation, a WOW factor to spring board our campaign.

On November 3, 2012 we held a Halloween “Monster Mash” costume party. To our delight and surprise Air Canada generously supported our fundraiser with the donation of two Air Canada tickets to anywhere in North America. The chance of winning such a great prize truly heightened the interest and awareness in our fundraiser and proved to be the catalyst for its success. The Monster Mash truly was a graveyard smash! It was attended by some very interesting and peculiar characters but the fairy tale favorite “Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf” proved to be the crowd favorite.

Rick Lavery

We raised over $5000 towards our ride with most of that money being attributable to our Air Canada grand prize raffle. The Titanricks are so very grateful and thankful to Air Canada for their support of our fundraiser Event and the VIP program.

This is just the beginning for the Titanricks. We are on the road to conquer cancer and like “titans”, we never quit. I don’t know how many rides I have left, but I do know this one will be epic. We have chosen the polka dot jersey (king of the mountains) for our team. Each polka dot will have the name of a colleague or loved one to honour their battle or memory. If you would like to honour a friend, colleague, or loved one, please email me with the details at Donations for our ride in support of the Princess Margaret Foundation can be made to “Titanricks” at