On the Tip of the Toes Foundation

  • Expedition’s participants at the Magpie River, on Québec’s North Shore. These therapeutic expeditions help participants rebuild their self-esteem through mentally and physically challenging journeys.

    Photo: Guillaume Roy

  • Group of young people during an expedition in the Mingan Islands, on Québec’s North Shore, accompanied by experienced guides, medical professionals and a blogger/photographer.

    Photo: Jean-Charles Fortin

  • The 2016 Evasion Rabaska participants set up the camp for the night.

    Photo: Nicolas Tremblay

  • An incredible experience for the participants at the Poisson Blanc regional Park, in the Outaouais, in 2016.

    Photo: Nicolas Tremblay

  • Together, they realize that they can fight cancer. These group activities allow participants to share their experiences and develop lasting relationships.

    Photo: Nicolas Tremblay

BY THE NUMBERS

The Foundation was founded in 1996

Expeditions are arranged for two age groups, 14- to 18-year-olds and 19- to 29-year-olds

Since its creation, the Foundation has organized 46 expeditions allowing 435 young people to live an exceptional experience

59% of the youth comes from Québec and more that 60% are male

Therapeutic Expeditions give Hope to Young Cancer Survivors

What better way to tell cancer to “go take a hike” than to take one yourself deep into the wonders of the Canadian wilderness? For the past 20 years, On the Tip of the Toes Foundation has been helping young cancer survivors do just that – leave their illnesses behind while working as part of a team to explore Canada’s vast geography. These therapeutic expeditions, lasting anywhere from four to 10 days, are meant to rebuild participants’ self-esteem and sense of well-being through mentally and physically challenging journeys.

Previous expeditions have taken On the Tip of the Toes teams to Ellesmere Island National Park in Nunavut, 700 kilometers from the North Pole, Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve in British Columbia, Anticosti Island and James Bay in Québec, and Assiniboine Park in Alberta. Depending on the expedition, the young people discover the wilderness while hiking, kayaking, dogsledding, snow shoeing or snowmobiling. Once the expedition is complete, participants come to realize that they can be stronger than cancer, no matter what lies ahead on the path to recovery.

Providing Funds for Expeditions

These expeditions are offered to participants free of charge and the Foundation holds a number of fundraising events throughout the year to make the programs possible. On November 23, 2016, the Foundation once again staged its major fundraising event “Let’s Celebrate Life” featuring well-known Québec humorist Stéphane Rousseau. Proceeds from the event will be used to fund future expeditions.

The expeditions are open to two groups of young people – from 19 to 29 years of age and 14-to 18-year-olds. In both instances, participants must be in remission from cancer for less than five years. In September 2016, a dozen 14-to 18-year-olds spent several days exploring the Poisson Blanc Reservoir in the Outaouais Region. They travelled in large voyager canoes that can carry up to 10 paddlers. The teenagers paddled throughout the day and then made camp and prepared the evening meal. In October, a group of 19-to 29-year-olds spent 10 days exploring the same reservoir. In both instances participants are accompanied by experienced guides, medical professionals and a blogger/photographer to document the team’s journey and exploration.

“As the first expedition was being planned in 1996, a child asked a guest speaker how to become an explorer like him,” explains Denis Le Vasseur, Vice-President and Controller of Power Corporation and member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. “The explorer responded that when he was young he found that if he rose on the tip of his toes he could see further. On the Tip of the Toes elevates these young people, helping them see further into a future where their lives are not defined by cancer. That is an extraordinary gift to give.”

“As most of us can imagine, cancer comes with its share of loss for our youths: loss of school time, of hair, eyelashes and brows; important weight loss; loss of body image; of favourite sports and activities; of joy of living; of vacations; of family routine; and overall, the loss of one’s innocence,” says Bonnie H., mother of Nicolas D. “The Tip of the Toes Foundation offers great gains for our youths allowing them to experience adventure; pleasure and joy of living; to meet other youths undergoing similar experiences; to make new friends; to connect with nature; to live new experiences; to get out of daily routines and to surpass oneself; to take a moment to enjoy life; to experience well-being; and overall, to gain powerful inner strength.”

“Therapeutic adventure allows young cancer patients to alter their story, to discover their strengths and to realize their dreams,” says Jean-Charles Fortin, General Manager of the Foundation.

Therapeutic adventure allows young cancer patients to alter their story, to discover their strengths and to realize their dreams.
Jean-Charles Fortin
General Manager
On the Tip of the Toes Foundation

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