Celebrating our volunteers

Check out volunteers who have made a difference – and how you can too


Unsung heroes (from left): Maureen Wakeford and Kevin Eagleson (with Awards MC Randy Bornstein)

Volunteers are at the centre of everything we do. From fundraisers to public awareness, peer support to the Gutsy Walk, volunteers bring us ever closer to making it stop. For life. No one in Canada should feel alone facing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Our community from coast-to-coast does a tremendous job breaking down the isolation and supporting each other through the challenges of these life-altering diseases. In November, we recognized a few incredible volunteers who are making a difference in their communities.

We honoured two ‘unsung heroes’ – volunteers going above and beyond to help make it stop. For life. Strathroy’s Kevin Eagleson has been a long-time supporter, and spearheads many local events. He is always available in support of those in his community, and his local Gutsy Walk has seen phenomenal growth. Meanwhile, Maureen Wakeford of Calgary has been deeply involved since her first chapter meeting, when she stepped up to become Chapter Secretary. Full-time work and motherhood don’t stop this dedicated volunteer from getting the job done. Her daughter Jennifer sums it up well: “You will not find a more tenacious, determined volunteer who throws her everything into ensuring the success of the event.”


Crohn’s and Colitis Canada co-founder Marilyn Finkelstein with Joel Frey, 2014 Finkelstein Award recipient.

Like its namesake, the Crohn’s and Colitis Canada Finkelstein Award is given annually to an individual that has demonstrated outstanding passion and dedication to our cause. Presented by our founder Marilyn Finkelstein, this year’s honoree was Joel Frey of Saskatoon. Nominated by his peers, Joel is an inspirational leader and a tireless contributor, using untameable spirit to grow a small Chapter into a large and highly engaged community of supporters. He has held a multitude of leadership roles within the Saskatoon Chapter – sometimes a few at once – and has truly raised the bar at the Gutsy Walk with creativity and family spirit. Additionally, he has been instrumental in organizing “newly diagnosed nights” – information and networking sessions to ease the confusion and loneliness many face with a new diagnosis of IBD.

These are just a few of the incredible volunteers that give their time and energy to help find cures and improve lives. Thank you to all of the generous volunteers who give so much time not just to Crohn’s and Colitis Canada but also to the people in your community – strangers until they receive a diagnosis of IBD. With such a dynamic community dedicated to this cause, we WILL make Crohn’s and colitis stop. For life.

There are volunteers behind almost every program, event and activity that Crohn’s and Colitis Canada offers. Volunteers are integral members of all our teams. If you’d like to join us, click here to explore opportunities.

  • 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.

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