Volunteer Appreciation Week 2020

This year, National Volunteer Appreciation Week runs from April 19 to 25. While we are always appreciative of the time, dedication, and hard work our thousands of volunteers donate to our cause, we wanted to take this opportunity to send an extra bit of love and thanks to all of you, who make the work we do possible. 

Along with celebrating the impressive accomplishments of all of our volunteers, we will be highlighting the recipients of our 2019 Ross McMaster Unsung Hero Award! Nominated by their peers, the recipients  have inspired others, demonstrated excellence in collaboration, acted as innovators, and significantly contributed to the fulfillment of Crohn’s and Colitis Canada’s mission over the past year. Each day throughout the week, we will introduce you to a new award-winner–we can’t wait for you to meet them!

Volunteer Appreciation Week icons

Meet Our Volunteers

Peter Dobranowski
Name: Peter Dobranowski
Location: British Columbia
Volunteer Role: Chapter President & Treasurer
Volunteer Service: 6 years
Gutsy Walk Role: Gutsy Walk Captain & Participant
Peter started volunteering with us because he wanted to meet other people living with Crohn’s or colitis. Little did he know, his first steps with our organization would grow into a passion for helping, whether it is in his role as the Fraser Valley West Chapter President, or in his work to create more accessible services for underserved communities.

Julie Cyr
Name: Julie Cyr
Location: New Brunswick
Volunteer Role: GoHere Washroom Access Program
Volunteer Service: 5 years
Gutsy Walk Role: Gutsy Walk Chair
From initiating conversations with business owners about the importance of washroom access as a volunteer with the GoHere Washroom Access Program to coordinating the local Gutsy Walk, Julie has demonstrated true leadership throughout her involvement with Crohn's and Colitis Canada. Inspired by her journey with Crohn's, Julie eagerly jumps on new opportunities that come her way as she's determined to drive awareness and raise funds for research all while uniting her community.

Shannon Epstein
Name: Shannon Epstein
Location: Quebec
Volunteer Role: Founder and President of Generation C
Volunteer Service: 8 years
Shannon has made, and continues to make, her mark on the Montreal community as the Founder and President of Generation C. Her passion for making a difference and entrepreneurial mindset led her to establish the tight-knit community that captures the voice, ideas, and needs of young Canadians living with Crohn's or colitis.

Emma Moore
Name: Marion Organ
Location: Newfoundland
Volunteer Role: Gutsy Walk Volunteer
Volunteer Service: 5 years
Gutsy Walk Role: Gutsy Walk Chair
As Gutsy Walk Chair, Marion takes great pride in gathering the community together for a cause she holds close to her heart as a parent of a child living with Crohn’s disease. When she’s not organizing logistics for the day of the walk or brainstorming new ideas with committee members to help make the next year’s event a great success, you’ll find Marion compassionately sharing her story with other parents to help them navigate their child’s journey with Crohn’s or colitis.

Emma Moore
Name: Donna Doman
Location: Manitoba
Volunteer Role: Gutsy Walk Volunteer
Volunteer Service: 5 years
Gutsy Walk Role: Gutsy Walk Prizing Captain
Donna felt compelled to get involved with Gutsy Walk as a participant fourteen years ago as her daughter was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Over the years, she has eagerly become more involved with the event as she’s taken on the role of Gutsy Walk Prizing Captain. Her ability to take initiative, collaborative nature and commitment to making a difference has driven the success of the raffle table at her local walk.

Sharon Fennell
Name: Sharon Fennell
Location: Ontario
Volunteer Role: Halton Chapter and Gutsy Walk Volunteer
Volunteer Service: 34 years
Gutsy Walk Role: Gutsy Walk Chair
Sharon is a familiar face to many in the community as she began volunteering with Crohn’s and Colitis Canada 34 years ago after learning her daughter and son were diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Over the years, Sharon has supported Crohn’s and Colitis Canada in many capacities, and more recently, as the Chair of the Halton Gutsy Walk. 

Sharon Fennell
Name: April and Nathan Stang
Location: Saskatchewan
Volunteer Role: Gutsy Walk Volunteers
Volunteer Service: 3 years
Gutsy Walk Role: Gutsy Walk Chairs
From reaching out to the community to garner donations to executing new ways to market Gutsy Walk, April and Nathan Stang have proudly taken charge of organizing their local event as Gutsy Walk Chairs. Their commitment to the cause has proven to be contagious as the number of participants, volunteers and donors involved with the walk continues to grow every year. 


We want to hear from you, too! Share your story with us on social media by tagging us @getgutsycanada on Twitter and Facebook and using the hashtag #NVW2020. We’ll be liking and re-sharing our favourites throughout the week!

How can I get involved?

Thanks for your enthusiasm! We’re always welcoming new volunteers. You can check our Volunteer Postings page to see if there is a role that interests you.

Our virtual Gutsy Walk is also coming up on Sunday, August 23! A family-friendly, fun-filled event, this is Canada’s largest community fundraiser for Crohn’s and colitis. Since 1996, the Gutsy Walk has raised over $45 million for research and patient programs—all thanks to participants, donors, and sponsors who are driven to make a difference. You can learn how you can get involved with Gutsy Walk here.

  • Canada has among the highest incidence rates of Crohn's and colitis in the world.
  • 1 in 140 Canadians lives with Crohn’s or colitis.
  • Families new to Canada are developing these diseases for the first time.
  • Incidence of Crohn’s in Canadian kids under 10 has doubled since 1995.
  • People are most commonly diagnosed before age 30.

Other Areas of Interest