Who We Are
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 until now, our Give Kids The World Trip Coordinator, responsible for getting our families to and from The Village and ensuring that their trip is as magical possible. As she moves into her new role as Chair, she will pass on her knowledge and experience to the members of our newly formed Disney Trip Committee.
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.
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 an active member of the Board of Directors.
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. 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. He is currently a member at large on our board and offers advice and leadership for marketing and fundraising.
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 a member at large on our board.
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.
Sheryl MacNamara – I am the mother of three amazing children. I was first introduced to Help A Child Smile in 2010 when my youngest child was diagnosed with stage 4 high risk neuroblastoma when she was 3 years old. Olivia’s diagnosis turned our world upside down and impacted all members of the family. Her first admission was over 2 months long and was so hard on all of us. Shortly after her first discharge from the hospital we went to a HACS event at the African Lion Safari. After months of sadness we not only saw Olivia smile, but heard her laugh and giggle For the first time since diagnosis. Her 2 older siblings also benefited from a day of fun. This day was priceless to us as parents. In the months that followed we attended more events and got to know some of the amazing volunteers from HACS. We knew that when the time worked for us we wanted to become involved and and help other families find their smiles again.
Sean MacNamara was introduced to HACS as a father of a child with cancer. His daughter was diagnosed in 2010 with stage 4 (high risk) Nueroblastoma.
He has always had an appreciation for the hard working members of this organization. His family has participated in several family events and jumped at the opportunity to get involved with Help A Child Smile because he sees the incredible value in helping the entire family cope with a child fighting cancer.
Rehanna Bachan and Nick Ferreira were first introduced to HACS during the summer of 2020 at Safari Niagara. They were greeted with the biggest of smiles and as they got into conversation, they realized just how special this organization is. They were in awe about the work being done and how enthusiastic and dedicated their board members and volunteers were when it came to helping every child smile. They decided to join the board as part of the Family Events Committee because of their passion for not only giving back to their community, but also to be a part of an organization that is changing lives. They are very excited to start this new endeavour and look forward to seeing the smiles of the children, their families and everyone who is a part of this wonderful organization!
Jennifer Wolfenden has been a pediatric hematology/oncology nurse for almost 30 years, and considers herself so fortunate to have spent 18 of those years as the Nursing Director at Camp Trillium. Currently covering the McMaster POGO Interlink Nurse role, she fulfills the role as hospital liaison to the board, attending monthly meetings and providing valuable insight into the needs of our families as well as the impact our programs have on them. She shares HACS programs and registration information with families in the clinic, as well as with the hospital team.