11 years and counting! It's hard to believe, but 2019 marks our 11th Annual Co-ed 6s for The James Fund (at SickKids), and - for those of you who don't know - Invado's affiliation with the The James Fund began back in 2007 when we met the Birrell family, of Peterborough, during the years when we were sponsors of the popular Heatwave & Icewave beach volleyball tournaments in Toronto. As parents with young children, ourselves, we were deeply moved and angered by what happened to James, who was only 3 years old when diagnosed with neuroblastoma; a virtually incurable childhood cancer that attacks the central nervous system of young children.
Syd Birrell, James' father, was told by doctors that there was little they could do - not because medical treatments or medications were impossible to find, but because pharmaceutical companies didn't see large profits in manufacturing medications which could help neuroblastoma and other forms of childhood cancer. Imagine having frustrated doctors tell you that your child was going to lose this winnable battle, because some of the biggest corporations in the world didn't see enough profitability in your child's illness. You'd probably do what the Birrells did.
Syd approached the researchers, himself, and asked how much it would take for the family to “buy” their own researcher. Nobody had ever been asked such a question, so they threw out a very rough and approximate number, almost as a question - 'approximately $30,000?' Pretty soon, the Birrells sat around their kitchen table with friends and organized a fundraiser that netted $30,000! Syd reconnected with the lab and stated: “Here’s the money. Introduce me to my researcher" - and the James Fund was born.
From those desperate, humble beginnings, The James Fund grew into the largest neuroblastoma funding group in Canada, and one of the largest dedicated to neuroblastoma in the world. They have raised over $12,000,000, and have been awarded the top prize for research in the field, and were even featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show - after which Tom Hanks called the family in Peterborough and offered his services as their official spokesperson (James' favourite movie was Apollo 13). They, also, established a blueprint that is now copied by countless family funds the world over. On November 13, 2007, SickKids named the “James Birrell Laboratories”, where all neuroblastoma research at SickKids now takes place. The James Fund not only supports the labs at SicKids, but they also use their funds to support the children and families dealing with neuroblastoma.
At the age of 8 and nearing the end of his all too short life, James promised that he would “always be fighting cancer.” He urged his friends and family to keep working for a day when the scientists “figured it all out” and no other little child would die.
So, please register on your own, with a friend, or as a team (min. 2 females on the court at all times) for this amazing day of volleyball - with separate divisions for ALL skill levels - for another great Invado cause! As with all Invado community events, $50 from each team fee & $10 from each individual fee will head, directly, to The James Fund. NOTE - this is one of our biggest and most popular events, so please be sure that you and your teammates are available from 8:30am-5:30pm - just in case start times are staggered to accommodate as many teams (and donations) as possible!
Three ways to register: 1 - CLICK the ‘Register’ button & proceed through our secure online payment process...2 - CALL 1-877-9-INVADO (1-877-946-8236), & have your credit card handy...or 3 - TRANSFER your payment, via online banking, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please remember to add 13% (HST) & set the 'security question' response to 'volleyball2018' Also, don't forget to list your name, email address, and the full name of the event - including the city, if applicable - in the 'comments' section of your transfer - thanks!