Cancer is an illness that has touched many lives and families. Carley’s Angels was created to help patients in treatment for cancer receive integrative cancer care as well as promote the smile that its namesake, Carley, always had. This week we spoke to Riley, Executive Director and sister of Carley, about how her organization is working to improve cancer care.
Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.
Carley’s Angels is a charitable organization founded in honour of the late Carley Elle Allison. We are working to unite traditional and holistic cancer care in hospitals while spreading Carley’s message of “always smile”
What problem does it aim to solve?
We are aiming to solve 3 problems that lead directly to how we created our mission and why we do what we do.
1. Holistic and alternative cancer care is an extremely expensive out of pocket cost
2. Holistic and alternative cancer care isn’t available in hospitals
3. Patients and parents of patients should not be responsible for, and are not qualified to combine their own traditional and holistic cancer care treatment plan
When did you start/join it?
We started Carley’s Angels in 2015.
What made you want to get involved?
Carley was my little sister. Watching the challenges she was facing with her very rare cancer diagnosis and watching our parents struggle to create this integrative cancer care approach made us realize that something needed to be done. We were fortunate to have so many friends in the medical field and the resources to ensure Carley received all the holistic and traditional treatments she needed.
But not all cancer patients get to exhaust all the options, they don’t all get to hope.
What was the situation like when you started?
My family, (mom, dad, younger sister (Samantha), and Carley’s boyfriend (John)), started Carley’s Angels. It was a small, family focused initiative on continuing the legacy of our girl.
How has it changed since?
Since then we’ve kept the family ideal at the core. No we aren’t all blood related but we might as well be, our community is the Carley’s Angels Family. And we still work to ensure Carley’s legacy has a profound impact on the lives of others.
We now have an international following, we fund a $150,000 program at SickKids in Toronto, raised over $700,000, and have paid staff members!
What more needs to be done?
In 2019 we funded the first Psychosocial Oncology fellowship at sickkids, a cancer car program with holistic methods at the core, a first for SickKids. But this is just the beginning of bridging the gap between the worlds of holistic cancer care and traditional cancer care to one day encompace it all, in what will just be called cancer care.
How can our readers help?
You can help by heading to our website! From there you can donate, shop, get involved, volunteer or participate in one of our events!
If you’re interested in learning about our Angel. There is a movie on Netflix about her story, Kiss & Cry. And her viral blog she kept during her cancer journey is now a book, “Always Smile: Carley Allison’s Secrets to Laughing, Loving, and Living,
Do you have any events coming up?
We do! We are currently running an online cover competition called Raise Her Voice where participants cover one of Carley’s Original songs for the chance to win a Calrey’s Angels prize pack and have a donation of $500 made to the music therapy program of their choice!
Learn more, enter or vote here
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?
Mental health is a key component of holistic cancer care and it’s one of the main focuses of our funded program at SickKids, Psychosocial Oncology. And while we are focusing on cancer patients always, we think everyone right now could use a mental health resource!
So our shoutout is Jack.org. And organization championing youth mental health.