Frequently asked questions
We understand that there are single, blended, and other types of families. For the purposes of the distribution of tickets to HACS-sponsored activities, "family" consists of the parents/caregivers (maximum 2 adults) of the child with cancer as well as the minor siblings of the child. The Board of Directors may, at its discretion, consider entitlement on a case-by-case basis. Any complimentary event tickets can be shared among extended family members, or additional tickets can be purchased in advance for many events.
Does HACS have sufficient funds to continue to offer the year-round event tickets for all families going through childhood cancer?
Unfortunately, children are being diagnosed with cancer at an increasing rate, and it is challenging to keep up with the needs of our families. We rely solely on fundraisers and donations to fund our programs. As you can imagine, this can result in fairly wide swings in our revenues. To date, we have not experienced shortages severe enough to result in the cancellation of any of our family events. However, because Covid caused the cancellation of all in-person fundraisers from March of 2020 until the summer of 2022, we had no choice but to use our savings to continue supporting our families. We are thankful that those resources were available, but it means that finding new ways to fundraise is more crucial than ever.
Various events are held throughout our geographical region. Please see the event calendar for a fundraiser near you, or please contact us if you are interested in hosting a fundraiser event!
We understand how a cancer diagnosis can stop a family's routine in its tracks. Families of newly-diagnosed children can sometimes spend a month or more in hospital, often without having had the chance to bring with them even the most basic daily necessities. To help, we provide newly-diagnosed families with a HACSpack filled with useful items like deodorant, comb, toothbrush and toothpaste, shampoo, notepad, snacks and more. We also provide parking passes, gas cards and food vouchers. We subsidize transportation costs for families whose child must also travel to Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital for treatments that are not available at McMaster. We also sponsor monthly parent support groups, teen group outings and bereavement counseling. We provide the oncology ward and clinic with books, craft supplies, literature, games, toys, and more to help them support our families every day.
No, HACS is not a wish-granting organization. As this horrible disease affects not only the child but the entire family unit, HACS provides the whole family with complimentary tickets to events year round so that there is always something for our families to look forward to. Our events include: Disney on Ice HACS Family Fishing Derby Canada’s Wonderland Monster Jam African Lion Safari Sporting events such as: Toronto Blue Jays, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Toronto Raptors Emerald Lake Bingeman's Park Annual Family Picnic Christmas Party
Children under the age of 18 who were diagnosed and/or are being treated for cancer at McMaster Children’s Hospital, are welcome to become members of Help A Child Smile.
Help A Child Smile's families come from a broad geographical area: the counties of Brant, Haldimand, Norfolk, Waterloo, Wellington, and Grey, as well as from Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville, and around the lakes in Niagara.