The spark for Fishermen Helping Kids with Cancer (FHKWC) was the inspirational daughter of a BC commercial fisherman. Moved by her steadfast three year battle with cancer, a fellow fisherman came up with the idea of the BC commercial fishing industry holding a herring sale to help all kids with cancer. Though she helped in the planning, our inspiration died at the age of 17, just a few days before the inaugural herring sale in 2011.
The sole purpose of FHKWC is to help kids with cancer. The core founding principle of FHKWC is that 100% of the money is for the kids - this is written directly into our governance document. So far, FHKWC has raised $650,000.
Nobody gets paid for this event - we are all volunteers. Sponsors pay for every event cost from the boat, to the fuel, to the bags for the fish to the coffee for the volunteers. If you buy a bag of herring for $15, exactly $15 goes to help kids with cancer. If you donate $20, exactly $20 goes to help kids with cancer. We have no fund-raising or administrative costs - even our bank charges are donated by the credit union, the G&F Financial Group.
The G&F Financial Group is a credit union with its original roots in the fishing industry. Donations from sponsors for event costs are deposited into an operating account at G&F. No revenue from the herring sale, nor any donation intended for kids is deposited into this account. Most of the sponsor donations, such as the fishing vessel, are in-kind donations, so the event uses less than $5,000 in cash. All revenue from the herring sale and every donation except sponsor donations expressly targeted directly for event costs goes into a separate trust account at G&F. Checks drawn on the trust account can only be made out to the BC Children's Hospital Foundation.
We have the privilege to consult with doctors and oncology staff to find out which programs, activities and items are most needed. This helps us ensure that funds go directly to improving the quality of life of kids with cancer. We do not generally fund operating, staff or capital costs of the hospital. Our spending is targeted on improving the quality of life for kids with cancer. Spending may include money for special food at Christmas, maintaining the video game, book and movie libraries, welcome kits for newly diagnosed patients and other items or activities normally outside of the hospital budget. On occasion, we may fund a small capital cost that will directly improve the comfort of kids with cancer. We purchased, for example, a vein finder for testing purposes to see whether it would help reduce the number of times that kids are poked with needles.