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You can help Southlake’s pediatric oncology playroom get a makeover

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‘The playroom that the Lions Club is so generously updating is a fun space inside the clinic where these kids can forget they are at the hospital, and just be kids for a while,’ Southlake Foundation says

When the past-president of the Newmarket Lions Club and co-chair of its pediatric oncology committee heard how many children undergo treatment each year for childhood cancers at the local hospital, it stunned him.

“It turns out that Southlake Regional Health Centre has between 1,000 and 1,300 children that are treated for cancer there every year,” said Kirby Brock. “It blew me away the number was so high.”

Since 2017, Lions International has made pediatric oncology, or childhood cancer, a priority. In 2018, the local club began working with Southlake Regional Health Centre to help raise funds and has hosted a fall fundraising breakfast for young Southlake patients and their families known as Pajamas and Pancakes.

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Now, the Lions Club has launched its latest fundraiser to refurbish a children’s playroom at Southlake’s pediatric oncology unit so youngsters waiting to go for treatment can have a bright space to be in.

The funds raised will help refresh the playroom in the busy clinic and offer a space that is brighter and more fun for young patients and siblings. This makeover will transform the room into a jungle-themed playroom, complete with new carpet and a mural featuring a proud lion, a couch, TV, PlayStation, controllers, and new interactive toys and games.

Renovations are expected to be complete by the end of this year.

“Cancer is something that doesn’t just affect patients, it affects the whole family, especially when it comes to kids facing such a difficult journey,” Southlake Foundation president and CEO Susan Mullin said. “The amazing thing about our clinic is that the staff and volunteers work so hard to make it a positive place for these young patients, and their siblings to come to, so it’s not all just about needles and doctors and treatments.”

“The playroom that the Lions Club is so generously updating is a fun space inside the clinic where these kids can forget they are at the hospital, and just be kids for a while,” Mullin added.

The playroom will be called the Lions Room, Brock said, and the community is invited to get involved and make a donation.

“The Lions are putting up between $12,000 and $30,000 to refurbish the room, so anyone who can give us some support will really make a difference,” Brock added.

A portion of the proceeds from the Lions Club’s latest Catch the Ace lottery will go toward the project.

“They say that a family who has a child with cancer spends between one third and 40 per cent of their income on that cancer,” said Brock. “We’re trying to alleviate some of those costs, and we’re setting up a budget for that, too.”

The local club aims to make it possible for any family in Newmarket who is in need of financial support to receive it. Funds are available for such things as equipment purchases, help with travel expenses, and parking, if a family has to travel to SickKids in Toronto.

Southlake’s Pediatric Oncology Clinic sees more than 1,000 patient visits every year from children across York Region and Simcoe County facing cancer.

Through a partnership with SickKids and the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (POGO), Southlake’s clinic offers much of a child’s treatment right here, close to home, ensuring the best possible care and support while reducing the stress and burden of travelling downtown or living separately while a child receives care at SickKids.

The Newmarket Lions Club is the oldest service club in Newmarket, serving the community since it was chartered in 1931.

The club raises funds for initiatives that include providing eye and hearing tests for children entering junior or senior kindergarten, the purchase of glasses for families who cannot afford them, helping needy families at Christmas, supporting a reading action program in schools, hosting a lunch with Santa, collecting coats for children in need, and helping families purchase special needs or devices.

For more about the Newmarket Lions Club and how you can contribute, visit here.


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