Gifts keep coming through ION’s matching campaign

Annual matching fundraising campaign attracting regular support

Peter Fargey didn’t initially realize his persistent stomach ache, for which he was popping Tylenol to no avail, was anything serious. When he finally went to the doctor and then had a gastroscopy – a test that involved threading a tiny camera down his throat to see inside – the doctors found a rare duodenal cancer. That was 2009.

After several surgeries and nearly a year into Fargey’s chemotherapy, his business partner Craig McEwan came up with a way to give back for the excellent care he’d received at the Cross Cancer Institute, through a gift-matching campaign to the Alberta Cancer Foundation, proceeds of which go to cancer research in Alberta.

Now in its fifth year, Fargey remains the public face of the successful campaign and has been given a clean bill of health.

“He’s 100 per cent. He’s cancer-free, which is awesome. He retired last May and he’s really loving his grandkids. He’s loving every day.”” 

- business partner Craig McEwan

McEwan, managing partner at ION, says he has been impressed by the level of interest the Nisku-based company has seen in its efforts to raise money for cancer research through the Foundation. The campaign, which runs annually from mid-June to August, encourages citizens and other companies to give money, with ION matching the funds raised, up to an additional $50,000 per year.

To date, the matching campaign has raised $1.37 million in donor dollars, with an average around the $300,000 mark each time. With ION’s matching contribution, donor gifts make double the impact towards redefining the future of cancer in Alberta. McEwan has found that the gifts through the campaign keep getting better. “It’s been such a positive thing. We were quite excited that the numbers had actually increased from last year, which is just dynamite,” he says.

“I am hoping to really bring it to a new level next year in terms of having a few more events and such so I think that will help it to keep some legs.” The campaign has been tied to the company’s environmental stewardship, because cancer is sometimes linked to environmental pollutants, he says, noting the company has kept its commitment to better practices since it went “green” back in 2010.“It keeps reminding folks of the importance of the environment and our position as a company on that.”

Sean Capri at the Alberta Cancer Foundation says one trend he’s seen in the matching campaign is the same people donating year after year. “Looking back over the history of the campaign, it gives me chills to think about the donors who have connected so strongly with Peter Fargey, his family and story, and the Ion Print Solutions Matching Gift Campaign,” says Capri. “Their commitment to supporting cancer research, prevention and screening, and enhancing patient care right here in Alberta is truly humbling and inspiring.”

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