By Deron Hamel
Summer is normally the time when epilepsy support agencies across Ontario host fundraising events; however, with the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic resulting in social distancing protocols and limited public gatherings, agencies decided to collaborate to create a safe way to raise money this year.
The idea that developed from this collaboration is an online monthly 50-50 raffle with draws held at the end of each month.
The Take a Chance for Epilepsy raffle allows participants to buy tickets to win cash prizes. The cash prize awarded is 50 per cent of the money garnered through the raffle, with the other 50 per cent going to epilepsy support agencies to fund education, advocacy, information and support services to the almost 95,000 people living with epilepsy and their families in Ontario.
The raffle tickets are selling three for $5, 10 for $10, or 60 for $20.
In addition to the raffle helping epilepsy agencies raise money, it has also been an opportunity for the organizations across Ontario to work together in a new way, says Brenda Calleja, Epilepsy Ontario’s fundraising co-ordinator.
“We figured that by doing this we could get all of Ontario involved,” she tells Voices of Epilepsy. “This was a chance for us to all work together as one unit – (and) we have never really done events as one unit.”
Calleja adds that Epilepsy Ontario agencies have discussed collaborating on large-scale projects in the past but nothing materialized, largely because the agencies operate independently and are located throughout the province.
The challenges all agencies were facing trying to organize their own social events during the pandemic provided the impetus to get the ball rolling, she says.
“We have been trying to get provincial fundraisers going for so long, but because we are so separated, it’s hard to have everyone do something on the same day,” Calleja says.
“Nobody has logistics problems (by hosting an online raffle) because you just send out an e-mail with a link to a website. We’re all working together for one goal, which is really great.”
To learn more about the Take a Chance for Epilepsy raffle or to buy a ticket, please click here.