For many women facing an end of life cancer diagnosis, dreaming can feel impossible. In 2011, Cameco, the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency partnered to change that, and the Cameco Riders Touchdown for Dreams program was born.
Over the past ten years Cameco Riders Touchdown for Dreams, managed by Cameco and quietly supported by a wide variety of businesses and individuals across the province, has helped make dreams come true for more than 70 women and their families.
“These are families with incredible battles in front of them. We wanted to make a difference in their lives,” said Jonathan Huntington, Vice-President, Sustainability and Stakeholder Relations for Cameco.
It’s a program like no other in the country. Huntington believes it works because it’s in Saskatchewan.
For ten years the partnership, which added the Cancer Foundation of Saskatchewan in 2019, has fulfilled dreams ranging from swimming with dolphins to renovated kitchens.
In 2021, a 16-year-old cancer patient’s dream was to have the family car repaired so she could travel to her treatment appointments. The program secured a new road-ready SUV for her for the next two years, so her family could travel worry-free.
Another dream recipient, a young mother of a young child, dreamed of having her kitchen repainted. Cameco employees volunteered to help. They painted her kitchen, organized a yard makeover, and put up a swing set and a playset for her daughter in the backyard.
“We have stayed involved in Cameco Riders Touchdown for Dreams because our employees want to be involved with it. We have to turn away Cameco employees every year who want to participate,” he said.
A dream of a renovated kitchen, which exceeded the program’s per participant budget, was realized when home builders and volunteers stepped up to help, resulting in a complete renovation.
Funding for the program comes from Cameco and from the sale of pink items sold during one October Riders game each year, affectionately known as the Pink Game. Huntington says the program has worked really well for 10 years, largely because of support from Riders fans. Fans, who normally bleed green, eagerly purchase pink toques, scarves or whatever unique item is featured that year.
“Last year we were sold out 30 minutes before kick-off! We were stunned by the overwhelming demand, so this year we have increased our pink gear by 50%,” he said.
All the surviving past participants of the Cameco Riders Touchdown for Dreams program, and the widowers of those participants that have passed on, are invited back to the Pink Game. Cameco hosts the current and past program participants, and the annual event has created a sort of new family for these participants.
Huntington, who has been involved in organizing every year of the program over the past decade says it has been a tremendous experience.
“This isn’t about corporate sponsorship — this is about trying to make their lives better.”
Cameco’s story was featured in Your 2021-2022 Donor Report alongside other inspiring stories of generosity. Read the Report here: https://cancerfoundationsask.ca/who-we-are/annualreports/