Mobilizing For A Cure
Since the inception of WICC in 1996, with the help of the entire insurance industry and its supporters, over $13,700,000 has been raised in support of cancer research and education. This has been achieved from industry support at a variety of WICC functions, including dinners, learning breakfasts, concerts, relays, golf tournaments, as well as the purchase of WICC candles, CDs and other products. In addition, numerous individuals, companies and associations within and related to the insurance industry have held or sponsored events specifically to raise funds for WICC or directed the proceeds of their annual events to WICC.
The involvement of all WICC supporters and volunteers has made it possible for WICC to achieve its Mission:
To mobilize the Canadian Insurance Industry in the fight against cancer by focusing on cancer research, support and education.
Women in Insurance Cancer Crusade was co-founded in 1996 by Mabel Sansom and Linda Matthews. The impetus to create WICC was borne out of tragedy. Linda and Mabel had been shocked by a colleague’s news that his wife had breast cancer. “The two of us decided it was time to fight back,” said Ms. Samson. “We began to recruit a dynamic committee dedicated to help find a cure. Many of our committee members have been personally touched by breast cancer. Their stories and strength continue to amaze us.”
In addition to ‘fighting back’, Mabel and Linda’s vision was, at the same time to provide support, education and breast cancer awareness to the industry. With about 80% of the insurance industry comprised of women (approximately 80,000 women), taking up the fight against breast cancer, which inflicts one in nine women, just made sense.
With over 200 guests in attendance, the Women In Insurance Cancer Crusade was launched in April 1997 with a dinner at the Toronto Sheraton Centre hotel. At that inaugural WICC event, co-founder Linda Matthews noted, “All of us have been touched by cancer through friends, family and colleagues. The WICC mission is to mobilize the insurance industry and focus on research, support and education.”
‘Challenge yourself’ was the dinner theme as guests were encouraged to find ways to help beat cancer, not just write cheques. “That would be easy,” said Matthews. “What we need is for more people to get involved.”
At this first dinner, insurance men and women across Canada were asked to sell special WICC candles, not only to raise money for cancer research, but also to raise awareness of the terrible toll cancer exacts each year. Runs and walk-a-thons were other suggestions.
Since that time, WICC has grown significantly and is now represented by chapters across Canada (currently WICC chapters exist in Ontario, Alberta, Quebec and British Columbia). In 2007, the Ontario Board of Directors voted to expand its mandate to support research projects for “other” forms of cancer. WICC now provides funding for all types of cancer research projects, directing funds as follows:
- The first $200,000 donated to CCS is to be directed to breast cancer research projects.
- The next $100,000 donated to CCS is to be directed to prostate cancer research projects.
- The balance of donations is to be divided equally amongst breast, prostate and “other” cancer research projects.