Our History

Candlelighters Simcoe was founded in 1990 by Barbara Johnson, a Pediatric Occupational Therapist and mother of three now-grown children, one of whom is a two-time childhood cancer survivor. During her son’s battle with childhood cancer, Barbara recognized gaps in support services for families of children with cancer. Over the course of nearly three decades, she has worked tirelessly to fill in those gaps through the work of Candlelighters Simcoe, and to let families struggling with childhood cancer know that they are not alone in their fight.

A registered charity, Candlelighters Simcoe is a volunteer-driven, not-for-profit organization supported entirely by community donations. Our members consist of a diverse group of parents and families with children or teens who have been diagnosed with cancer — some cured, some on treatment, and some who have lost their battle. Our organization provides support for families in Simcoe County and surrounding areas through support programs which have been designed to positively impact and improve the quality of life for children with cancer, easing the burden faced by their families. Membership is free, and all of our programs are provided at no cost to our member families.

A registered charity, Candlelighters Simcoe is a volunteer-driven, Candlelighters Simcoe is part of a provincial organization called Ontario Parents Advocating for Children with Cancer (OPACC) that serves families by providing information, engaging in advocacy, and encouraging and assisting in the development of parent support groups.