We recently spoke with Brian Bringolf who is the executive director at Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada. We wanted him to share with us information about the work they have been doing to brighten the lives of seriously ill children and their families across Canada.
Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.
Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada does what no medicine can do: create priceless smiles and memories for seriously ill children and their families. For over 30 years, Starlight Canada has been spreading joy to sick kids across the country through a unique blend of hospital to home programs designed for the whole family.
What problem does it aim to solve?
Starlight Canada’s journey is a never ending one, and it is impossible for me to say that the issues we face will ever be solved or that our mission will ever be complete. There will always be children out there who will forever live with a chronic condition or an illness that has no cure that will need our help. What I can say, is that in the midst of all this dark, Starlight Canada aims to provide a light. As illness strips away pieces of childhood, we are there to help give them another piece of it back.
What did you start/join it?
I joined Starlight 23 years ago as the Executive Director of the Starlight Quebec chapter.
What made you want to get involved?
Watching children in our local communities who are seriously ill demonstrate such bravery and courage through their many hospital stays left a huge impact on my life. I knew I wanted to be aligned with an organization whose mandate is to effect change, create an alternate world- filled with happiness and care to temper some of these conditions that face children daily. I wanted to be apart of programs that grant wishes to make their lives a little bit easier.
What was the situation like when you started?
When I first started my journey with Starlight, Starlight Quebec was a chapter separate from Starlight Canada. The organization was fairly small and unknown, having been running in Canada for under 10 years. Our funding came from a relatively small dedicated base of donors at the time.
How has it changed since?
What was originally just Starlight Quebec merged with the Canada chapter has transformed into work being done concurrently across the country to ensure that all the children who have access to Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada’s programming are given fair and equal access in terms of resources and funding. We are growing and expanding our reach and impact in the lives of children and their families across Canada.
What more needs to be done?
We need to grow more financially. As medical advancements are made and government budgets are cut, we are seeing a year-by-year growth of people requesting our services, and the sad truth is, we cannot say yes to everyone. We know there are children out there waiting for wishes to be granted without much time left, and it’s hard to correctly prioritize where the most critical help is needed with limited resources.
We need donors to help us brighten the lives of seriously ill children by sponsoring any of our local programs such as the treasure chest programs and comfort kits programs monetarily or by grants.
How can our readers help?
Start your own fundraiser for Starlight – it can be anything that raises just a couple of hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Everything helps to give these children the experiences and breaks from medical treatments they deserve.
Help us spread the word on social media, in your publications or wherever you have an audience. We want everyone to know we are here to help.
Do you have any events coming up?
We have a three-minute shopping spree at a local Toys”R”Us store for two Starlight children- Jessica (Nov. 21), Toronto and Zoe- Windsor (Nov. 27). They will get a chance to pick up as many toys as they want in time for the holidays.
The 3-Minute dash is part of a longstanding partnership between Starlight and Toys”R”Us that has helped raise more than $20 million since 1998 to support seriously ill children.
Our biggest fundraising event of the year, our annual Gala, is coming up on March 28th 2020 at the Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto. This is guaranteed to be a spectacular night, even more so this year, as it’s the Gala’s 25th anniversary.
We also have a golf tournament in the summer in Ontario, and two national programs – Drive 4 Smiles and Tea & Tiaras, which visit multiple cities across Canada.
Where can we follow you?
For Quebec and French speaking Canada, we operate at @starlightquebec on Facebook and Twitter.