Roughrider, children’s hospital foundations teaming up to keep Sask. kids healthy

. Touchdown for Kids Millionaire Lottery

Saskatchewan kids will get better medical care and have access to more community programs, thanks to a new lottery.

The Saskatchewan Roughrider Foundation and Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation (JPCHF) have partnered up to create the Touchdown for Kids Millionaire Lottery.

It’s the first time the two foundations have teamed up, and it’s one of the first joint lotteries in the province.

“Half of the money raised will go to the hospital foundation, and the other half will go to community groups that our foundation is supporting,” said Cindy Fuchs, executive director of the Roughrider Foundation.

The goal of both foundations is to help keep kids healthy, whether it’s through a self-confidence boost or by providing medical treatment.

“We partnered with the Roughrider Foundation because they’re doing preventive health care. The lottery will benefit a lot of positive programming that will help children and teens develop skills to make better lifestyle choices,” said Brynn Boback-Lane, JPCHF president and CEO. “Meanwhile, we’ll take care of those who need help within the hospital.”

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READ MORE: Roughriders, children’s hospital foundations team up for million-dollar lottery

Supporting community programs across Saskatchewan in a new way

The Roughrider Foundation was launched in September 2019. It aims to support kids and teens across the province by fundraising for community programs such as amateur football leagues and the Canadian Red Cross Imagine No Bullying initiative.

“We’ve had partnerships with organizations before, but could only give them players’ time or donations,” Fuchs explained. “The new foundation allows us to raise funds for them, taking one step further to support community groups.”

That support means Saskatchewan Roughriders players like offensive lineman Dan Clark will be able to continue reaching thousands of students each year with the Canadian Red Cross Imagine No Bullying program. The program brings professional football players to schools across the province to teach kids about bullying and harassment.

Dan Clark educates Youth on Healthy Relationships and Bullying Prevention
Dan Clark educates Youth on Healthy Relationships and Bullying Prevention

“Our goal is to show kids they’re not alone,” said Clark. “We may be pro athletes, but everybody’s gone through something. We make the environment safe and welcoming for them to share.”

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Clark has been part of the program since 2013 and drove more than 9,000 kilometres to speak to thousands of students last year, including some at schools he’d been to before. He said the repeat visits show just how well the program works.

“Staying with the program as long as I have, you see the change, you see the students using it.”

READ MORE: Dream realized as Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital opens in Saskatoon

Starting new programs and improving families’ experiences at the new Saskatchewan children’s hospital

JPCHF is coming off an exciting year —Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital opened in Saskatoon in September after five years of construction. The hospital is the first facility dedicated to children’s and maternal health in Saskatchewan.

Now that the hospital is open, Boback-Lane said the lottery proceeds will fund new programs that go beyond solely medical procedures. “When you bring a child to the hospital, you bring the whole family. They want to know not just how the child is going to heal, but how they’re going to feel.

“We want to build within the hospital with programs like music and art therapy, literacy and medical education. We’ve never had the space or the resources to address this on a provincial scale before.”

Kristyn Wells of Moose Jaw, Sask., has seen first-hand how the children’s hospital has improved patients’ experiences with a more family-centred approach. Her son Cohyn, 13, has had 17 surgeries during his life and had his 18th procedure at the new hospital in October 2019.

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At other hospitals, Cohyn recovered in a shared room. This time, mother and son stayed in a private room with beds for both of them. “For me, going from a cot or mattress on the floor to an actual bed was just incredible,” Wells said. “It’s just so much more comfortable, and you’re not tripping over everyone else.”

Having a private room also made it easier for Cohyn’s brothers to visit. “Before, I didn’t bring my two older sons because there was no room,” Wells said. “But Cohyn definitely had a lot more fun when his brothers were there.”

Cohyn Wells, Youth Ambassador
Cohyn Wells, Youth Ambassador Touchdown for Kids Millionaire Lottery

The Touchdown for Kids Millionaire Lottery is on now through January 22.

Prizes include 13 vehicles, six vacation packages, 41 unique Roughrider experiences and one grand prize of a million dollars.

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To buy lottery tickets, visit the Touchdown for Kids Millionaire Lottery website or call 1-844-574-5437.

The Touchdown for Kids Millionaire Lottery holds lottery licence LR19-0051.