What We Do
Meagan’s Walk: Creating a Circle of Hope was founded by Denise Bebenek in 2001, the year she lost her cherished five-year-old daughter Meagan to a cancerous brain tumour.
Leaving the hospital the last time without Meagan, Denise knew something had to be done and the mission that would become Meagan's Walk began. She channeled the outpouring of support and love received by her family and her own vision into what started as a spirited community walk and human hug around The Hospital for Sick Children in 2002.
Since then, Meagan’s Walk has become a 365 day initiative to bring hope and awareness to this leading cause of cancer-related death in children and young people. Since its inception Meagan’s Walk has raised more than $4.5 million for groundbreaking research and is having global impact on the care of and outcomes for young brain tumour patients around the world.
Funds raised are directed to SickKids, which houses The Arthur and Sonia Labatt Brain Tumour Research Centre (BTRC). Opened in 1999 and host to the only program in Canada dedicated to paediatric brain tumour research, the BTRC is now considered to be one of the largest and most important research centres in the world, making significant contributions to the understanding of the underlying causes of brain tumours, and leading to the discovery of new therapeutic approaches that can be rapidly translated to patients.
The signature event for Meagan’s Walk takes place annually on the Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend when participants of all abilities take part in the 5km walk, which culminates with thousands of people joining hands to encircle the Hospital for Sick Children in one large hug, sending strength and love to those within.
Throughout the year community events organized in support of Meagan’s Walk help to share the message of hope and raise further funds to support the organization. The generosity and support of Meagan's Walk is also shown by sponsors, partners, volunteers, and the community at large.
Meagan’s Walk also has a vibrant school program that is embraced by various schools throughout the GTA and beyond. The theme “kids helping kids” inspires students to share the Meagan’s Walk message of hope and to help build a caring community. School programs empower young people to share their gifts and talents, and to help those in their communities who are vulnerable.
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