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In Appreciation of Our Wonderful Volunteers

Apr 07, 2014

Letter from Our President

At the Ontario Lung Association, we look forward to National Volunteer Week (April 6-12) because it gives us a special opportunity to celebrate the many extraordinary people who dedicate their time, their expertise and their passion to our mission of improving the lung health of Ontarians.

Volunteers make important contributions to almost every aspect of our multi-faceted organization – from the lung health experts who help us develop our programs and services to the people who open and answer letters from donors to those who work on our various fundraising initiatives.

They are people like:

Marci Apelowicz, a former student intern who now volunteers with our health promotion team, making valuable contributions to a range of projects and activities.

Dr. John Granton, eminent respirologist with Toronto’s University Health Network, chair-elect of our Board of Directors and a leader in helping us raise much-needed funding for lung research.

Penny Keegan, a keen gardener who has asthma and who, unsurprisingly, has been a key part of the Stratford Garden Festival success story since its inception 14 years ago.

Alex Lee, a volunteer with our Youth Advocacy Training Institute, who participated in a Youth Leadership Retreat and served on the Curriculum Advisory Committee before signing on as a young adult trainer.

Jennifer Olajos-Clow, nurse practitioner and asthma expert from Kingston, another long-serving volunteer for The Lung Association including her current role as volunteer chair of the Ontario Respiratory Care Society and its representative on our Board of Directors;

Fran Perkins, who for the past eight years has worked long hours coordinating Tulip Day sales and deliveries in Elliot Lake;

Floyd Stiegler, a familiar face in our Toronto office where he’s been an important contributor to the smooth operation of the Donor Fulfilment Centre for almost 20 years;

They are just a small sample of the thousands of dedicated individuals who have joined us in the campaign for better lung health in our province. They range in age from teenagers to seniors. They are students, office workers, doctors, farmers, business executives, construction workers, lawyers, retired people – you name it. They come from every corner of the province.

What unites these diverse individuals is their shared belief in community service and their vision of a future when every Ontarian can breathe easily and freely.

Here are some of the ways our volunteers are making a difference to lung health in Ontario and why we take this opportunity to thank them for the great gifts they bestow:

  • Members of the Ontario Thoracic Society and the Ontario Respiratory Care Society who offer their time and expertise to ensure that our programs and services reflect current best practice. In addition to serving on committees, advising and contributing to the development of our respiratory health programs and materials, they help with regional professional education and public awareness events and are also involved in grassroots advocacy. Their commitment to lung health extends well beyond their professional interests and is evident in their charitable support.
  • Lung Health Ambassadors, most of whom live with lung disease, who have helped to build a network of support groups across the province, providing information, camaraderie, support and care to others diagnosed with lung disease and their families.
  • Hundreds of people throughout the province who help with our many community fund-raising events such as the Festival of Trees, Stratford Garden Festival and Tulip Day.
  • Lung Health Champions who share their personal stories to help change government policies and programs.
  • Youth advocates who spread important messages related to tobacco and other health issues to young people across Ontario.
  • The many individuals who assist us in the essential work of ensuring that donation letters are acknowledged promptly.
  • Members of The Breatherhood, thousands of people from across the province who have joined the Breathers United movement to encourage the Ontario government to make lung health a priority.
  • Event and campaign sponsors who become our partners in success, not only for their financial support but also because their staff become engaged as key volunteers in our events and activities.
  • Members of our Board of Directors and committees, all volunteers, who give their time to the task of governing and guiding the organization to success.

The Ontario Lung Association is a charitable organization with a strong commitment to fiscal responsibility. It is inconceivable that we could deliver our many programs and services, as well as raise the funds to support them and critical lung health research, without our volunteers.

At the start of National Volunteer Week, we speak on behalf of the 2.4 million Ontarians living with lung disease when we express heartfelt gratitude to the amazing volunteers of the Ontario Lung Association.

Digital signature of George Habib



George Habib
President & CEO
Ontario Lung Association