FitSpirit Kicks Off First Major Fundraising Campaign: “Let’s Ramp Up The Movement”

FitSpirit Kicks Off First Major Fundraising Campaign: “Let’s Ramp Up The Movement”

Canada NewsWire

10 million dollars will help promote

greater physical activity for the health, well-being and fulfillment of
Canadian teenage girls!

MONTREAL, Nov. 23, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ – A broad representation of Montreal personalities responded to the invitation of FitSpirit Foundation to attend the official launch of its first major fundraising campaign.

Logo: FitSpirit (CNW Group/FitSpirit)

Several of them took the floor to reiterate their support and to stress the importance of joining forces to advance the organization’s mission of leading more Canadian teenage girls to discover the pleasure and benefits of adopting a healthy and active lifestyle.

Among our speakers, we heard: Claudine Labelle, founder and president of FitSpirit, the co-chairs of the campaign, Geneviève Fortier of McKesson Canada and Diane Giard of National Bank of Canada, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, official spokesperson for FitSpirit, Isabelle Charest, annual patron of FitSpirit, and Sandy Vassiadis of Saputo, FitSpirit’s leading partner.

“For 10 years, FitSpirit has been passionately engaged in inspiring and motivating thousands of Quebec and Ontario teenage girls every year to become physically active. Our mission is to offer them a different experience by allowing them to be active while having fun and to promote a positive self-image in the absence of competition. My wish for the next ten years is that people become more active and serve as role models for our wonderful feminine youth. We can then, together, reverse the sedentary statistics showing that girls are avoiding or giving up physical activity at a crucial time in their lives,” says Claudine Labelle, founder and president of FitSpirit.

Physical activity at the heart of the development and fulfillment of Canadian teenage girls
The FitSpirit Foundation was created in 2007 by Claudine Labelle to help teenage girls discover the fun and benefits of physical activity.

FitSpirit is committed to developing partnerships with schools and communities to create a sustainable offering of physical activities for teenage girls. Its approach is based on a personalized and flexible service to support schools in encouraging their girls to be active through activities adapted to their concerns and realities. Through this human and personalized approach, FitSpirit educates tens of thousands of young Canadian girls annually about the importance of a healthy, active lifestyle and, in its own way, leaves a significant mark on their lives.

FitSpirit first supports schools and their staff in identifying barriers to the practice of physical activity by girls and in implementing activities tailored for them. FitSpirit also shares its knowledge and expertise in the practice of physical activity among teenage girls by providing training, tools and sharing opportunities for actors in the FitSpirit community. The organization ultimately offers a proven combination of school-specific activities and tools that implement the FitSpirit approach including:

  • A motivational conference by an ambassador, trained and supported by FitSpirit, who comes to deliver an inspiring testimonial aimed at motivating girls;
  • Various physical activity sessions supervised by FitSpirit ambassadors;
  • A turnkey training program lasting 8 to 10 weeks;
  • Diversified and adapted tools for teenage girls: virtual training platform, promotional posters, nutrition tips, video capsules, contests, etc.;
  • A social media campaign to engage girls and motivate them throughout their journey leading to the FitSpirit Celebration;
  • A FitSpirit Celebration that allows young girls to surpass themselves and continue their discovery of pleasurable physical activity.

This approach, built around fun, friendship and trying something new, is the secret of our success. Surrounded by school volunteers and FitSpirit ambassadors, participants have a rewarding experience in a relaxed atmosphere that’s open to everyone. No competition, no pressure to perform: the only objective of FitSpirit is for girls to have fun together while trying new physical activities.

Statistics that speak for themselves
Several statistics concretely illustrate the importance to young Canadian girls of FitSpirit’s initiatives and interventions over the last ten years.

Involvement and commitment
There are 435 FitSpirit representatives in schools and some 200 FitSpirit ambassadors, supported by hundreds of FitSpirit school and corporate volunteers.

Real impacts
FitSpirit initiatives have had real impacts in the lives of participants: 97% want to relive the experience; 90% increased their level of physical activity by at least one hour per week; 74% in Quebec and 81% in Ontario have increased their self-confidence; 70% have continued to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle; and 67% have supported and influenced their friends to persevere.

And some 250 secondary schools participated in FitSpirit’s activities in 2016, mobilizing more than 15,000 young Canadian girls to get involved and be more active.

The campaign’s goal is to enable FitSpirit to pursue its mission of spreading the word about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to thousands of teenage girls in Canada each year.

FitSpirit has set itself the ambitious goal of raising $10 million by 2021. Thanks to these amounts, the organization plans to act on three levels:

Development and technology support: Implementation of technological tools to support growth and support activities, ensure an optimal experience and reduce per capita operating costs;

Program and operations support: Creation of material to support existing and new projects in the promotion and deployment of the FitSpirit approach, and create new initiatives to improve the offering of activities;

Evaluation support: Support for an evaluation plan with world-renowned academic researchers to measure the impact of FitSpirit on girls (physical, psychological, etc.) and in their community.

Awards and recognition
Over the years, FitSpirit and its president, Claudine Labelle, have received several awards and honours that confirm the importance of continuing their initiatives: “Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada” by WXN in 2008 and 2010, YWCA of Toronto “Young Woman of Distinction 2010”, “Telus Innovation Award 2010”, “Woman of Distinction” (Sports and Wellness category) 2012 of the Montreal Women’s Y Foundation, “Entrepreneur Of The YearTM 2013″ by Ernst & Young of Quebec, “Personnalité La Presse 2015 – Social Entrepreneur”, IOC “Trophy for Sport and Innovation 2015”, “Young Socially Responsible Business Leader of Quebec 2016” at the Arista Awards Gala, “Medal of Meritorious Service 2016” of the Governor General of Canada and CAMH’s “Champions of Mental Health 2017”.

NOTE TO MEDIA: For all interview requests and/or visual material (photos), please contact Chantale Baar at (514) 992-6463.


SOURCE FitSpirit

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Morneau Shepell partners with Défi Challenge Québec 800

Morneau Shepell partners with Défi Challenge Québec 800

Canada NewsWire

MONTREAL, Nov. 23, 2017 /CNW/ - Morneau Shepell is proud to announce its partnership with Défi Challenge Québec 800 for the third annual relay race, which will be held May 17-20, 2018.

The Défi Challenge Québec 800 is a relay race that takes place throughout various locations in Quebec, covering a total distance of about 800 kilometres, to raise funds for to the Fondation Jeunes en Tête. The foundation supports teens contending with mental health issues through its awareness-building program called Solidaires pour la santé mentale (Partners for Mental Health).

“At Morneau Shepell, we provide support to people of all ages because we know that mental health issues can affect anyone at any time in their life,” said Julien Ponce, executive vice president, Eastern Canada at Morneau Shepell. “As a leader in mental health, our objectives of promoting a healthy lifestyle among our employees and clients align with the Défi Challenge Québec 800. We are proud to be a leading partner of this incredible event.”

“This partnership with Morneau Shepell shows that we can combine health and teamwork by pushing oneself to the limit while doing something good for the community,” said Réjean Fournier, president of Fun Training and founder of the Défi Challenge Québec 800. “Through a collective effort, we want to inspire hundreds of young people to adopt a healthy lifestyle and build the Quebec of the future.”

About Morneau Shepell
Morneau Shepell is the only human resources consulting and technology company that takes an integrated approach to employee assistance, health, benefits and retirement needs. The Company is the leading provider of employee and family assistance programs, the largest administrator of retirement and benefits plans and the largest provider of integrated absence management solutions in Canada. As a leader in strategic HR consulting and innovative pension design, the Company helps clients solve complex workforce problems and provides integrated productivity, health and retirement solutions. Established in 1966, Morneau Shepell serves approximately 20,000 clients, ranging from small businesses to some of the largest corporations and associations. With more than 4,000 employees in offices across North America, Morneau Shepell provides services to organizations across Canada, in the United States and around the globe. Morneau Shepell is a publicly-traded company on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: MSI). For more information, visit

About Fun Training
Fun Training is a company that specializes in managing and producing philanthropic sports events. It coaches participants through the entire process, from initial preparations to the achievement of final objectives. Challenges are custom designed, based on the values of surpassing personal limits, having fun, respecting oneself and others, and commitment. 

SOURCE Morneau Shepell Inc.

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Unprecedented Canada-wide movement to improve pediatric cancer treatment

Unprecedented Canada-wide movement to improve pediatric cancer treatment

Canada NewsWire

Researchers at Sainte-Justine and the Montreal Children’s Hospital
join 20 other Canadian research partners as part of a $16-million initiative

MONTREAL, Nov. 23, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ – In Canada, cancer remains the leading cause of illness-related death in children. In an effort to accelerate research breakthroughs and ensure a faster path to a cure for children living with resistant, recurrent or metastatic cancer, more than 30 pediatric research centres and non-profit organizations are joining forces to support the PRecision Oncology For Young peopLE (PROFYLE) program, an initiative of the Terry Fox Research Institute. This unique partnership represents $16.4 million in funding, over a quarter of which will come from Quebec.

Logos: CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation, CHU Sainte-Justine, Montreal Children's Hospital Foundation, Research Institute of the MUHC, Charles-Bruneau Foundation, Sarah's Fund, The Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI) (CNW Group/The Montreal Children's Hospital Foundation)

Terry Fox PROFYLE seeks to tap into world-renowned Canadian expertise in genomics and pediatric oncology. The program uses real-time molecular profiling to personalize treatment for patients with tumours that are difficult to treat with conventional therapy, no matter where they live in Canada. Eight-year-old Karl from the greater Montreal area is one of these patients.

Karl was six when he and his parents found out that a persistent pain in his arm was in fact ganglioglioma, for which the prognosis in children is less than encouraging. “It was such a shock. We could barely wrap our heads around it,” his mother Josée recounted. They were told that the chances of being able to completely remove Karl’s tumour, which was lodged in his brain stem, were slim and that the repercussions could be serious. Fortunately, an experimental treatment was available through Terry Fox PROFYLE. “Instead of undergoing highly complex surgery, Karl is taking a pill to shrink the tumour. This has given him back his mobility and let him return to school.”

Although 80% of pediatric cancer patients now survive, the outlook for the remaining 20% continues to be grim. Terry Fox PROFYLE Program Director Dr. David Malkin of the SickKids Hospital in Toronto is delighted to see specialists in precision medicine converge for the first time and work together instead of in their respective silos. This is the key to modern-day medical advances.

The medicine of tomorrow in Quebec
Dr. Nada Jabado, a senior scientist with the Child Health and Human Development Program at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) and a pediatric hematologist-oncologist at the Montreal Children’s Hospital of the MUHC, is a primary physician for children with brain tumours. “The PROFYLE initiative is an unprecedented catalyst for collaboration among Canadian scientists who are tackling particularly aggressive, hard-to-treat forms of pediatric cancer. I am proud of the synergy between our two teams in Quebec and of the expertise we’ve developed in studying genetic biomarkers that we can bring to this massive undertaking,” said Dr. Jabado, leader of the PROFYLE biomarker node. “Our goal is to find a cure for all children living with cancer, and with PROFYLE we are taking a giant leap forward. By sharing our knowledge and our know-how, we will maximize our chances of success in reaching out to children in need and their families.”

Professor Daniel Sinnett, senior scientist and head of the laboratory of genomic determinants of childhood leukemia, part of the Charles-Bruneau Research Unit in Immunology, Hematology and Oncology at CHU Sainte-Justine, agrees. “Our dream is to defeat cancer through research. By joining forces to take our work to the next level, we can make the most of our resources to greatly benefit children across the country. This nationwide collaboration will enable us to strengthen the leadership of our pediatric oncology teams,” he stated. “With precision medicine, we can develop molecular profiles that will show us how a disease is likely to progress so we can determine the most effective course of treatment to recommend to children and their families. These personalized treatments adapted to the needs of individual patients will help better our chances of finding a cure,” he added.

Quebec is contributing more than a quarter of the initial $16.4 million in funding, by way of several prominent donors, namely the Charles-Bruneau Foundation – the lead Quebec partner in this initiative, Sarah’s Fund for Cedars / Cedars Cancer Foundation, the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation and the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation.

Charles-Bruneau Foundation
“At the Charles-Bruneau Foundation, we are proud not only to be continuing our fight against childhood cancers through a generous contribution to this research initiative, but also to be extending the scope of our work to a national scale,” said Rébecca Dumont, chief executive of the Charles-Bruneau Foundation. “Curing children with cancer is what our foundation is all about. It is with pride and confidence that we are working hand in hand with Sainte-Justine and the Montreal Children’s Hospital, two vital partners in Quebec, to advance the frontiers of knowledge and bring hope of a cure to all children.”

Funding for this extraordinary initiative, which will be spread out over five years, is expected to grow as new donors are added.

About the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation
The CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation’s mission is to engage the community and support the CHU Sainte-Justine in its pursuit of excellence and its commitment to providing children and mothers with one of the highest levels of healthcare in the world, now and in the future.

About the CHU Sainte-Justine
The Sainte-Justine university hospital centre (CHU Sainte-Justine) is the largest mother-child centre in Canada and the second largest pediatric hospital in North America. A member of the Université de Montréal extended network of excellence in health (RUIS), Sainte-Justine has 5,457 employees, including 1,532 nurses and nursing assistants; 1,000 other healthcare professionals; 520 physicians, dentists and pharmacists; 822 residents  and over 204 researchers; 411 volunteers; and 4,416 interns and students in a wide range of disciplines. Sainte-Justine has 484 beds, including 67 at the Centre de réadaptation Marie Enfant (CRME), the only exclusively pediatric rehabilitation centre in Quebec. The World Health Organization has recognized CHU Sainte-Justine as a “health promoting hospital.”

About the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation
The mission of the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation is to support excellence in patient care, teaching, and research at the Montreal Children’s Hospital of the MUHC, the pediatric teaching hospital for McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine. Since its inception in 1973, the Foundation has raised more than $340 million, which has been used to transform the lives of sick children through innovative research and teaching projects, and cutting-edge care. The Foundation’s Best Care for Children campaign raised $105 million to help build the new Montreal Children’s Hospital on the Glen site. For more information, please visit

About the Research Institute of the MUHC
The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) is a world-renowned biomedical and healthcare research centre. The Institute, which is affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine of McGill University, is the research arm of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) – an academic health centre located in Montreal, Canada, that has a mandate to focus on complex care within its community. The RI-MUHC supports over 420 researchers and close to 1,200 research trainees devoted to a broad spectrum of fundamental, clinical and health outcomes research at the Glen and the Montreal General Hospital sites of the MUHC. Its research facilities offer a dynamic multidisciplinary environment that fosters collaboration and leverages discovery aimed at improving the health of individual patients across their lifespan. The RI-MUHC is supported in part by the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS).

About the Charles-Bruneau Foundation
Established in 1990, the Charles-Bruneau Foundation’s mission us to fund research for and support the development of projects related to pediatric hemato-oncology in Quebec. The Foundation believes that the thousands of children afflicted with cancer have the right to the best care available, throughout the province. It is active in the four university hospital centres in Quebec: the CHU Sainte-Justine, the CHU Québec-Université Laval, the CIUSSS of the Estrie-CHUS and the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

About The Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI)
Launched in October 2007, The Terry Fox Research Institute is the brainchild of The Terry Fox Foundation and today functions as its research arm. TFRI seeks to improve significantly the outcomes of cancer research for the patient through a highly collaborative, team-oriented, milestone-based approach to research that will enable discoveries to translate quickly into practical solutions for cancer patients worldwide. TFRI collaborates with more than 80 cancer hospitals and research organizations across Canada. TFRI headquarters are in Vancouver, B.C. For more information please visit and follow us on Twitter (@tfri_research).

About Sarah’s Fund
Sarah’s Fund was founded in 2001 by Sarah Cook and her family. She was 8-years-old and undergoing treatment for Ewing’s Sarcoma. Sarah’s Fund of the Cedars Cancer Foundation supports the needs of the Pediatric Hematology – Oncology patients and their families. The goal: improve the quality of life for all young cancer patients on “Sarah’s floor” (7B) at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. To date, Sarah’s Fund has raised over $12 million.


SOURCE The Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation

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