Cameco Riders Touchdown for Dreams
What would you want out of life if you didn’t know how much longer you had to live? How would you make the most out of knowing your future is uncertain? The Cameco Riders Touchdown for Dreams program helps women facing a life-threatening cancer diagnosis answer those questions.
The dream granting program began in 2011 as a partnership between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency. Before the next year, the two came knocking on the door of Cameco, the world’s largest publicly traded uranium company, headquartered in Saskatoon. A partnership was created and the Cameco Riders Touchdown for Dreams was born.
“All of us came together, three organizations that hadn’t worked together before. We took baby steps to start and the program has grown every year,” says Jonathan Huntington, Cameco’s VP of Sustainability and Corporate Relations.
Each spring women who are facing a life-threatening cancer diagnosis can apply to have their dream fulfilled. What’s in the dream is up to the applicant. The three partners review the applications selecting, on average 7 or 8 wishes every year.
“These are remarkable women. We walk away the fortunate ones from knowing these cancer patients and learning from them. They are the most courageous and thoughtful women you will ever find,” says Jonathan.
Funds for the program are raised through the sale of pink merchandise items at a Saskatchewan Roughriders home game. In 2018, the game was held on October 27, raising a record $40,000.
As part of Cameco Riders Touchdown for Dreams, there is a private gala every spring in Saskatoon. The event recognizes the new dream recipients but is also a chance for every family that has been a part of the program to reconnect. Over half a million dollars has been raised from the gala to support the ongoing work of the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency.
“It’s a night where remarkable cancer patients can come, be recognized and be celebrated for the journey they are on,” explains Jonathan. “It’s also an opportunity for these women and their families to enjoy a night where there are not other worries for them.”
With over 50 dreams granted since 2012, the program means a lot to the recipients but also to Cameco staff. When the call goes out for volunteers to give up a day on a weekend, to sell pink merchandise, there is no shortage of help. Often staff have to be turned away because of the overwhelming response to take part.
According to Jonathan, the decision to become a partner in this program has been one of the most rewarding for Cameco, and for him personally. It has given Jonathan the chance to connect with the dream recipients and their families in a way he never would have imagined when it all began. He says he’s spent time with women in the last stages of their life, received numerous phone calls from families after a loved one has passed away, and even been asked to speak and officiate at funerals. This experience has taught him a lot about cancer.
“It has taught me that it’s a disease that knows no limits. It takes twists and turns you cannot predict. It has taught me that it can impact people in ways that you cannot imagine. But at the same time, it has taught me that it can bring out the very best in people.”
This experience has reinforced for Jonathan how important organizations like the Cancer Foundation of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency are in the fight against cancer.
“We look at the Cancer Foundation of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency as being top tier organizations to partner with in the province because every single dollar, every single effort stays in this province. It touches the lives of people in this province in a real tangible way and it gives back to this community.”
You can find out even more about Cameco Riders Touchdown for Dreams on the Cameco website: www.cameco.com/community/stories/supporting-women.