Lighting the way for families impacted by childhood cancer

About us

Candlelighters Simcoe is a volunteer-driven, not-for-profit organization with a mandate to provide support services to families impacted by childhood cancer in Simcoe County and the surrounding area. Our programs are designed to address the complex emotional, academic, financial, and practical challenges associated with a pediatric cancer diagnosis, easing the burden of children and their families.
Support Services

Candlelighters Simcoe offers a variety of support services to families impacted by childhood cancer, including a family care package program, monthly support group meetings, and art therapy programs for children.

Financial assistance

Families of children with cancer experience an immense financial burden. To offset this, we offer a number of financial assistance programs, including our Christmas program, parking pass program, and emergency relief fund.

school support

Our school support program has been developed to support children with cancer, as well as their, siblings in the classroom.

Community Resources

Candlelighters Simcoe has partnered with a variety of wonderful organizations in the Simcoe County area. Our work would not be possible without the generous support of our community partners and sponsors.

Help us in helping local families.

Why we exist

Cancer is the leading disease-related cause of death in Ontario children; only accidents will kill more children this year. Each year, approximately 400 children are diagnosed with cancer in Ontario. The causes of childhood cancer are largely unknown. The psychological and social impact of childhood cancer can be significant; it may include problems of coping and adjustment, lapsed school achievement, learning deficits, and financial distress.
What makes us unique

Candlelighters Simcoe was founded in 1990 by the parent of a childhood cancer patient. We are a not-for-profit, volunteer organization that provides programs and services for pediatric cancer patients residing in Simcoe County and surrounding areas, and to those they depend on for strength and support. Our programs and services are aimed at the needs of the entire family, and deal mainly with alleviating both the emotional and financial stress that families of children with cancer deal with on a daily basis. Our programs are facilitated by parents whose children have been diagnosed with cancer.

  • Cost of treatment

    Over 80% of families' total cost of illness is associated with parents forgoing paid employment in order to provide care.

  • Financial insecurity

    As a result, one third of families experience housing, energy, or food insecurity within six months of diagnosis.

  • Survivorship

    Overall, more than 80% of paediatric cancer patients will survive their illness.

  • Ongoing care

    Over 60% of survivors face ongoing side effects, including neurocognitive impairments, sterility, or secondary cancers.

Our Events

Candlelighters Simcoe participates in a variety of events designed to fundraise, increase awareness, and provide community support for families impacted by childhood cancer.
Barbara Johnson
Barbara Johnson
Founder
The founder of Candlelighters Simcoe, Barbara Johnson worked as the Parent Liaison from the organization’s founding in February of 1990 through to her retirement in September of 2018. A Pediatric Occupational Therapist by profession, Barb is also a dedicated wife, mother, and grandmother, and an enthusiastic masters swimmer who hopes to enjoy many more cruises with her husband Al in their retirement.
Allan Johnson
Allan Johnson
Chair
Allan is a proud parent of three great kids and two amazing grandkids. His most amazing and challenging experience has been accompanying his wife Barb through their life journey with their son Trevor, a two-time cancer survivor. In his spare time, Allan is a dedicated athlete who competes in long-distance triathlons.
Shelley Gentile
Shelley Gentile
Treasurer
An educational assistant from Lively, Ontario, Shelley is a wife and mother of two daughters, Victoria and Alyssa. At the age of 12, Victoria was diagnosed with Leukaemia, which lead Shelley to get involved with Candlelighters Simcoe. Shelley is an avid traveller and has seen most of Canada.
Linda Lesage
Linda Lesage
Director
A dedicated volunteer from Wasaga Beach, Ontario, Linda is also a proud mother to two sons and grandmother to three granddaughters. In addition to her work with Candlelighters Simcoe, Linda is also involved with Rainbows Canada and Sleeping Children Around the World. Linda enjoys travelling the globe; one of her favourite hobbies is collecting rocks — one from every place she has travelled.
Lianne Kerr
Lianne Kerr
Director
Originally from Richmond Hill, Ontario, Lianne is a Procurement Specialist who has worked in the healthcare field since 1989. Lianne’s world revolves around her family; a proud mother of two grown children and grandmother of four grandkids, she believes that family comes first. Lianne was drawn to Candlelighters Simcoe by a passion for helping children, a legacy she attributes to her father, who was a Shriner. In her free time, Lianne enjoys travelling, music, and theatre.
Amy Friel
Amy Friel
Director
Amy is a writer and editor who lives and works in Toronto, Ontario. She has a passion for volunteerism, politics, and community service, which lead her to get involved with Candlelighters Simcoe. Amy is enthusiastic distance runner who, in her spare time, can usually be found visiting her amazing parents in Midhurst, Ontario, or training for her next marathon.
Pam Watt
Pam Watt
Director
SHELLY MCMILLAN
SHELLY MCMILLAN
Director

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