A B.C. man who is battling stage 4 colorectal cancer is hoping to create a foundation for adults with cancer to grant them a ‘wish’.
George Gould, who lives in Aldergrove, was diagnosed last September. A former lawyer, he said he was left unable to work and due to the new financial pressures, was suddenly struggling financially instead of planning for retirement.
“A good friend asked me what was on my bucket list,” said Gould. “‘I can’t afford a bucket any more,’ I said. It was his idea that there should be a Make-A-Wish foundation for adults. I was inspired by the idea.”
A Bucket List is a list of goals and dreams you want to fulfill before you die, and while the Make-A-Wish Foundation does amazing work with children with life-threatening medical conditions, Gould could not find a similar organization for adults.
“Our experience isn’t unique,” said Gould. “Thousands of families every year are devastated by life-threatening illness and the financial ruin it brings. The first thing to fall off the budget is those future, someday plans that we think of as bucket list goals.”
The Canadian Bucket List Foundation
Gould has now started a crowdfunding campaign to develop the volunteer program, build their web presence and cover registration of the foundation and application to Revenue Canada for ‘charity’ status. That will allow them to accept funding from major public foundations, such as the Canadian Cancer Society.
“The doctors involved in this foundation agree that realization of life dreams and bucket list goals enhance medical treatment outcomes and give patients the positive outlook and determination to continue the fight,” said Gould.
So far, they have raised more than $3,500 and Gould said he is “honoured and amazed” at the response to the project. “So many of the comments and tweets we receive come from people who have lost someone close to them and wish they had been able to fulfill their bucket list wishes,” he said.
Finding comfort in writing
Gould has been writing a blog about his own cancer treatment and his blog post about the idea for the foundation has now been read thousands of times. He said he has found solace in his writing.
“What started as a way to keep family informed without repeating my story over and over, has become an outlet for my own hopes and dreams.”
“The legacy of my writing, and now the foundation, are all I need on my bucket list.”
A small gesture can have a big meaning
Now Gould is focusing on building the foundation into a reality. He said the establishment of the foundation can be done quickly, but funding for the delivery of the program will depend largely on the Revenue Canada process.
The list of volunteers has already started growing however, and Gould said that will allow them to start with smaller, local services this summer.
“The impact of this idea reaches entire families, including children,” he said.
“I met a woman recently who became a grandmother five years ago and was diagnosed with cancer six years ago. I asked her to tell me the one thing she would love to accomplish this year. She wants to take her granddaughter to the PNE. Such a modest bucket list goal for a woman who worked 25 years in customer service at your neighborhood grocery store and now lives in assisted living on a modest pension. Imagine sending her and and her granddaughter to Disneyland! Not only would it help grandma, but the little girl would remember for her entire life.”
Anyone is also welcome to nominate people to have their dreams fulfilled, whether that’s seeing their favourite band or having dinner on a beach with their family.
“The Bucket List movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman which made ‘bucket list’ a household phrase had a $45,000,000.00 budget,” said Gould.
“Give us a fraction of that and we will make real dreams come true.”