WISHES 2019 â€“ 2020 Annual Report
Dear Mélanie’s Way supporter, I was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer with spread to my ovary on January 31, 2014. I had emergency surgery less than 24 hours from receiving the news, followed by 6 months of IV chemo every 2 weeks. Sadly, my first scan post-treatment revealed the colon cancer had returned to my remaining ovary. By mid-November 2014, doctors were no longer looking for a cure. Chemo became indefinite.
private deck. We could not have asked for anything else. This trip enabled me to make unforgettable memories with my wife that are beyond amazing. Shelly has been the most attentive, selfless caregiver to me, never wavering in her unconditional love for me. It meant everything to me to be able to spoil her and say thank you. We often talk about the trip, how much we loved it and the fun we had.
On December 13, 2014, after 8 years of dating, Shelly and I married privately in our home. We got married on a Saturday between chemo sessions. As a wedding gift from family, we shared a romantic stay out of town. However, we were unable to have a proper honeymoon, because we simply didn’t have the means to travel. You see just prior to my diagnosis, I had started a new job without benefits as a junior lawyer. My application for private health insurance wasn’t yet approved, and ultimately, never would be. Without critical illness coverage, I returned to part-time work to help pay the bills, while continuing with my chemo.
Words cannot begin to describe the power of what Mélanie’s Way does for young women like myself. There is no price tag that could represent the value of the memories we created through Mélanie’s Way – yet, I know it is the generosity of people like yourself that make these invaluable moments possible. It is my hope that learning about my story and the story of other women who have been touched by Mélanie’s Way will move you to consider making a donation to this wonderful organization, to make more wishes come true.
Thank you so much!
Mélanie’s Way gave us the honeymoon we never had. My wish was for a week-long getaway somewhere hot with my wife. Mélanie’s Way sent us to Mexico, and I had the pleasure of surprising my wife shortly after our 4-year wedding anniversary. It was the ultimate honeymoon – complete with butler service, gourmet food, a jacuzzi and private pool, a room full of rose petals, sport fishing, and an overthe-water bungalow with glass floors! We were spoiled with the end bungalow that was most private and had the most beautiful views. The windows overlooked the aqua green sea, which was accessible for swimming from our
Annual Report 4
Letter from our Co-Founder
Our Community: In a Donor’s Own Words
To the Mélanie’s Way Community
To the Community
It is spring of 2020. As I write this message to you, we have nine wishes ‘on hold’ due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nine families are waiting to see when – I refuse to say “if” – they will be able to embark on their adventures together and create the moments of joy and memories that will outlast the unfairness and loss that cancer has brought to their lives. Tied up in that statement are three things that are amazing to me. First - always first - I feel honoured to witness the strength of our wish recipients in the face of adversity. I remember how much it meant to Mélanie to be planning our next adventure, and I see that same joyous resolution in our wish recipients. They speak so beautifully about the experiences they want to share with their loved ones, and what it means to have this hope while they deal with the anxiety and uncertainty of treatments and test results. This is the reason we created Mélanie’s Way, and the reason we continue to serve young women with terminal cancer. Second - I feel overwhelmingly appreciative for the supporters, partners, and volunteers who make these wish experiences possible. Our expanding donor community amazes me with their generosity and creativity, and you will see many stories of their impact within these pages.
Our wish partners help to make our wish recipi ents feel special with ‘extras’ like flight and room upgrades that help us to make each wish even more magical. Our volunteers - from the ‘fairy godmothers’ who create the wishes to the community engagement team that keeps you connected to our activities to the compliance team that ensures we are doing things the right way - work tirelessly, even through the current crisis, to make it all happen. I am in awe of all of you and appreciate everything you have done to fuel this movement that was inspired by my (our) Mélanie. Third - I feel the awesome responsibility to ensure that we at Mélanie’s Way continue what we have started. I see the impact of each wish experience - often I am able to meet with the recipient, at least by video - and am motivated to make more happen. I see the commitment from our community, and I want to match it with a greater commitment of my own. With that in mind, we are working hard to ensure the sustainability of Mélanie’s Way. We want to ensure that we are here to serve young women with terminal cancer as long as there is a need to do so. In this way, Mélanie’s Way will continue to honour Mélanie, and every member of our community that has contributed to the mission along the way.
Thank you so much!
I have been working in the pharmaceutical industry for many years and it is through this work that I first met Rob. We have been colleagues and trusted advisors to one another. As time went on, I got to know about much of what he and Mélanie went through together. When he told me that he was planning to honour Mélanie’s memory by founding a charity that would help women who were walking the same path that she had walked, I found myself wanting to know more. I became a Mélanie’s Way supporter in 2018, after attending an event where I heard directly from Sarah, one of the earliest wish recipients, who had just returned from her wish. If you’ve read the letter from a wish recipient elsewhere in this report, you would have some idea of what that experience felt like for me. I became a Mélanie’s Way supporter at that event and continue to make donating to this impactful cause a personal priority. I have felt the catastrophic impact of cancer within my extended family. I have seen how being able to do something with family during tough times, fulfilling a wish, can have a lasting and significant positive impact on everyone. Becoming a member of the Mélanie’s Way community has been personally rewarding
because I have been able to pay it forward – to share that positive impact with more people than just my family. And as I see the extent to which my membership can generate positive impact for others – I feel extremely pleased that my contribution is making a big difference in people’s lives. I encourage you to learn more about Mélanie’s Way and the stories of the young women they serve. If the story touches you, as it did me, make the decision to donate. If you want to help in other ways, Rob tells me he and the team are always looking for people willing to volunteer their time and expertise – please take a moment to reach out.
Thank you so much!
In addition to the women to whom we granted wishes,
we touched the lives of 21 of their family and friends
Hotel night stays
Countries visited by wish recipients
$137K+ in donations received
Year in Review
of expenditures were for wish-related expenses
events run by our community!
Tea in Timmins
Music for MĂŠlanie
Neelam’s Wish Neelam and her 2 sons in the Dominican Republic.
“You have no idea how much we are looking forward to this... I’ll never for get this beautiful gift. So appreciated.”
Scotland with Maddie’s mom and sister to visit family.
Vow renewal with husband, son and daughter-in-law on a Caribbean cruise.
“Since I was a little girl, I remember saying to my mum that when I grew up and got a good job that I would bring her back to Scotland to visit all of our family and loved ones. Unfortunately I don’t foresee being able to this for her and it sincerely breaks my heart.”
“At this time, as I am feeling well, I am hoping to enjoy some time with my family and to make some happy memories together. Clarke and I had many years of memories together of just him and I, just the two of us, which was so incredibly special. I want him to be left with special memories like that of us together again, before the disease continues to progress and I become more ill, and ultimately pass away”.
Miami and Bahamas adventure with husband, 4 kids and Carla’s sister.
Disney with 2 daughters and Noelle’s mother
As Carla told us, this trip was about her being able to make the best memories with her kids: “Being there when they experience this dream of theirs, seeing the looks on their faces and not missing this special moment!”
“I would love to be able to see the looks on their faces after finding out that we’re going to Disney… it would make their worry turn to excitement”
Rachel’s Wish …”face it girl. in all its power and splendor, be brave, be bold, plant your feet, and you will stand taller than before.” – Rachel Rachel’s husband and 3 children in southern California
“Melanie’s Way has given all of us the gift of time. Time to hear their perspective of this journey of life, time for extra cuddles….time to do things we would never get to do… if you’re living, LIVE, if the universe is calling you home soon, LIVE HARDER”
Our Supporters Wish Makers
Our Team Taylor, Sue, Nicholas, and Perry Dellelce
$10,000 or more
Sappani Family Foundation
Wish Builder $5,000 or more
Andrew and Lynn Torres
ANTIBODY Healthcare Communications Klick, Inc. Lumira Capital Investment Management
Rob Chalmers Lori Evans William Hewitt Tom Hsu Erik Prieditis Robin Quelhas Sean Ryder George Saltzberg
Jean-Louis & Chantal Schryburt Eric Scott Catherine Streutker Andrew & Lynn Torres Nikki Trifunovich Maggy Warda Matt Wills
Michelle Barrett Tara Black Robert Chalmers Sr Amy Clark Jacques Hebert
Julie Hommik Arash Jalali Leanne Northwood Robin Quelhas Jenna Smith
Nikhil Thatte Katey Thompson Nikki Trifunovich Vamsi Vuppala
Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge
$1,000 or more
Board of Directors
Chair, President and Assistant Secretary
Luigi Berardelli Surbhi Bisen Marion Duboquet Anita Gade
Diane Gauthier Amy Hao Julie Hommik Amanda Marshall
Claire Robert Sean Ryder Jenna Smith Nikhil Thatte
Katey Thompson Lynn Torres Vamsi Vuppala
Darquise Hebert Bill Hewitt Collaboration Partners
Advisors Chantal Schryburt Juliette Quelhas Dr. Philippe Bedard
Michael Kenigsberg Tom Hsu Martin Schryburt
Financial Summary 2019 Summary
We are grateful for your support this year. Thanks to your generosity, we granted 7 wishes and saw our donations increase by 60% over 2018. Our growing team of dedicated volunteers once again helped us keep administrative expenses down.
Sources of revenue
83% Individual Donors
89.9% Wish expenses
17% Corporate Donors
10.1% Admin expenses