Who We Are
Nelson Mota has been part of the childhood cancer community for over 35 years. His brother was diagnosed with cancer at 11 years of age then Nelson was diagnosed 6 years later at age 14. Both are doing very well today. After his battle, Nelson continued to support children with cancer by volunteering at Mac Kids before becoming the Director of Clinic and Community programs at Camp Trillium. After a number of years in that position, he developed his own private practice supporting children, youth and adults through difficult mental health and behavioral challenges. After leaving the childhood cancer world for a short time Nelson returned as a member of the Help A Child Board of Directors, an organization that has always been near and dear to him, where he is proud to be Board Chair.
Amy Watson was introduced to HACS as the mother of a child with cancer. Everlee was diagnosed early in 2016 with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and completed her treatment in May 2018. When Amy first learned of HACS she was in awe of the work they do and wanted to become involved. So as soon as Everlee started the long-term maintenance phase of her treatment, Amy joined the Board. She was welcomed with open arms and is currently sitting as the Vice-Chair. Amy co-chairs the monthly meetings, assists with social media and most recently she has taken on our “HACS packs” project, providing backpacks filled with essentials to newly diagnosed families. She is forever grateful to the people that run this organization, and is so happy to be a part of helping children with cancer and their families.
Peggy Charron has been the volunteer Director of Finance since 2002. Her HACS duties include processing donations, issuing tax receipting, thank-you cards, acknowledgements and bereavement letters as well as banking, reconciling wish trips, and performing regular accounting duties. She is always willing to lend a hand in other areas as well as an event coordinator and/or volunteer – often being the face for HACS at events. She has been very dedicated to HACS over the years. She keeps a sharp pencil and only wants the best for the organization and the families impacted by childhood cancer. Having been affected by cancer herself she can relate to the kids. In her spare time, her passions are travelling, golf and enjoying life with her new husband.
Bertha Bertrand’s beautiful little daughter introduced her to HACS thirty-one years ago. Charlene wanted to go to the fundraiser for a little girl with cancer (Kacey-Lynn Rainville), which was being held on the Labour Day weekend in 1987. A few short months later, Charlene was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma. She passed away on Sept. 11th, 1988, but before she passed, she made Bertha promise to help children with cancer and make them smile. So Bertha joined the board and has been involved with HACS ever since in many different capacities. For the past 15 years, she has been the Family Events Director, organizing most of the events our families attend throughout the year. She still enjoys seeing the children smile and hopes to continue to do so for many more years to come.
Chris McCullough is the CEO & managing partner of Mystique Event Marketing, which oversees a group of companies involved in event management as well as retail and home security systems. He and Judy, his wife of 21 years, have two children, and he is now the doting grandfather of twin boys Liam and Finnick. He has been involved with HACS for more than 25 years in a variety of roles. He has served both as a volunteer and the provider of special event fundraising projects, such as Stampede Days In Paris, and the NHL Alumni hockey games in Hamilton and surrounding area. He currently holds the position of Director of Fundraising. Chris was introduced to HACS by original members Claude Poulin & Dan Fortier and was proud to be asked to come onto the Board of such an amazing organization.
Beth Walsh had been volunteering for a variety of causes in the community for many years, so when a dear friend invited her to join him in raising funds for sick children, she didn’t hesitate. Before long, that fundraising was done exclusively for Help A Child Smile, a charity Beth knew nothing about. But once she met Sandra & Joyce at a fundraiser, she quickly embraced HACS. She loved the way the organization worked to help not only the kids but the whole family, with no big overhead expenses. Beth truly believes that Help A Child Smile is a very special charity with special people working together – even standing in the rain together to help make the families happy. Beth enjoys her work with HACS and is currently the Communications Director.
Joyce Hutson first learned of HACS when her granddaughter was diagnosed in 2008. She was impressed by the fact that the Board members were all volunteers, and 93.7% of revenues went to pay for their family events and support programs. When Caitlin lost her battle, Joyce organized family-oriented golf tournaments for 5 years, donating the money to HACS. In 2010, she was invited to join the Board by long-time President Sandra Allen. She has served as Volunteer Coordinator, Vice-Chair and now Give Kids The World Trip Coordinator. She is responsible for getting our families to and from Give Kids The World Village and ensuring that their trip is as magical as it can be!
Ramona Durkin was introduced to HACS as the grandmother of Everlee, a child with cancer. Her family has been so grateful to this organization for the wonderful opportunities they provide. After attending a number of family and fundraising events, Ramona wanted to help this organization to continue helping the families of children with cancer. Now that she has retired, she is working with Peggy as Assistant Director of Finance. Ramona and her husband, Brian, look forward to helping HACS keep those smiles on the faces of the children and their families.
Claire O’Halloran has been an integral part of our Help A Child Smile Board for well over 20 years. As a Pediatric Oncology RN as well as the Interlink Nurse at McMaster Children’s Hospital, she fulfills a crucial role on our Board. As our Hospital Liaison, she attends our monthly meetings where she provides valuable insight into the needs of our families as well as feedback on the impact our programs have on them. She is quick to alert us when new circumstances have a negative impact on our families’ day-to-day journeys, or special situations have created hardships for our families. Her input has played a very big role in helping to steer our growth.