Welcome to my personal fundraising page for the Man & Woman of the Year challenge. The Man & Woman of the Year philanthropic competition to help support Canadians affected by blood cancers. I have been given the opportunity of a lifetime to participate in this competition to help accelerate blood cancer cures and support those living with the disease.
This year, I was nominated to be a candidate for the 2022 Woman of the Year competition. My goal is to raise $50,000 between March 24th to June 2nd, which will go directly to help support those newly diagnosed, people in treatment and those navigating life after a blood cancer.
Thank you for being part of my campaign to help cure blood cancers!
Kathleen Gnocato is the Senior Director, Corporate Innovation at the MaRS Discovery District, North America’s largest urban innovation hub. Kathleen is passionate about addressing the world’s complex problems with innovation and positioning Canada as a leader in the innovation economy.
For the past 8 years, her favourite part of the week has been volunteering at Sick Kids, where she supports families and children affected by cancer. Kathleen has a Master’s in Global Affairs from the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto, and a BAH from Queen’s University.
Who nominated you for MWOY and what motivated you to say yes?
Nina Larsen, member the MWOY Toronto Leadership Team. When Nina approached me with this opportunity, I asked about the impact of the LLSC’s work on children and families affected by blood cancers. I was motivated by the examples she shared of the LLSC’s work – their One Kilometer at A Time Transportation Subsidy program to help offset the costs of getting to the hospital, providing care so that a child can be home to celebrate their Birthday, millions of dollars towards blood cancer research. Having witnessed the stress, isolation, and hardships experienced by patients and their families at Sick Kids, I was motivated to support such impactful work.
Do you have a personal connection to blood cancer or what is your why?
One evening, I was playing a game with a child in the small playroom in the Hematology/Oncology unit at Sick Kids. The unit was quiet, with many children sleeping in their rooms, and others out for a walk around the hospital with their parents. Suddenly, I heard squeals of excitement in the hall, and with a curious little kid’s hand in mine, went out to see what was going on. As we approached the large glass window that looks out onto Elizabeth Street, there were families gathered, waving and cheering to a crowd outside. The crowd (unbeknownst to me, an LLSC-led group) were holding lanterns, “Lighting the Night” in support of those facing blood cancer. In that moment, with love, support, and light beaming from the street below, those families and patients knew they weren’t alone in their fight. Over the next 10 weeks, I hope that my campaign will provide a platform to shed light on the stories of resiliency and adversity of those facing blood cancer, and bring our community together in support, so children and their families know that they are not alone.
What are you most looking forward to during your MWOY challenge?
I’ve been privileged to connect with children and families facing blood cancer through my work at Sick Kids and am most excited about the potential to impact and bring together the community as a whole. I’m told by a previous MWOY candidate, that he was surprised by the power of a campaign to bring forward stories of adversity, how people have battled and overcome blood cancers and personal loss. I’m most looking forward to those moments of connection.
What or who inspires you to fundraise?
Every patient and family I’ve met over the past 8 years at Sick Kids inspires me. If you have ever set foot in that hospital, you will know that it is a special place. The kids I’ve had the privilege to meet and connect with are the strongest, wisest, people I’ve ever met. As one patient (age 4) once said to me: “there’s no such thing as weakness… everyone is strong inside.” I’m fundraising for them, and for their families.
What would you love to accomplish over the 10 week challenge?
Ultimately, my goal is to highlight stories of those fighting blood cancer- patients, researchers, families- and to bring the community together in support. Regardless of the money raised, if this campaign demonstrates to patients that they are not alone, I will have accomplished my goal.
Of course, the competitive side of me also wants to win… my target is to raise $50,000 towards programs and research that directly support blood cancer patients.
Help Me Spread the Word
Please share this page link with your contacts and check back often to see my progress.
Learn more about the Man & Woman of the Year challenge and the work of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada at mwoy.ca.
And stay tuned for the exciting announcement of the Man & Woman of the Year, coming up on June 2!
Thank you for bringing help and hope to the blood cancer community!