November 26, 2018
Story by Amelia Schofield
EDMONTON — Caring comes naturally to many healthcare providers. Kiron Jhass embodies this quality through his work as a registered nurse at the Cross Cancer Institute, and as a guitarist and vocalist with the Dungarees.
The Dungarees are an Edmonton-based country music band who have performed at music festivals across the country. They’ve opened for musicians such as Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert and Reba McEntire. Recently, they received the 2017 Video of the Year, Rising Star and Group of the Year Awards from the Alberta Country Music Awards.
For the past three years, the Dungarees have hosted a 24-Hour Gig-a-thon in support of the Alberta Cancer Foundation’s Patient Financial Assistance Program. To date, this musical marathon has raised $50,000.
According to Jhass, holding a fundraising event for the Alberta Cancer Foundation was a natural fit for the Dungarees.
“We chose to support the Alberta Cancer Foundation because several of us have had very close family members affected (by cancer) and because I work at the Cross Cancer Institute,” he says. “It really struck a chord and we absolutely loved the Patient Financial Assistance Program. It’s something we could support that helps people right now, and something everyone can get behind.”
Facing a cancer diagnosis can lead to many physical and emotional challenges for patients and their families. It can also cause a significant financial burden. The Alberta Cancer Foundation’s Patient Financial Assistance Program helps hundreds of Albertans and their families cover expenses during a cancer diagnosis.
“Two of the artists that we featured at this year’s Gig-a-Thon were cancer survivors. It was so meaningful for us to have them take part in this,” says Jhass. “They know the impact of the program and one of the artists stated that he wouldn’t have been able to cover his prescriptions or afford treatment without it.”
He continues by sharing how the Patient Assistance Program has impacted the patients he sees at the Cross Cancer Institute.
“I’ve also spoken with some of our patients who have accessed the program and they were so thankful to have it available to them.”
George Andrews, president and CEO of the Alberta Cancer Foundation, shares the Foundation’s gratitude to the Dungarees for their ongoing support.
“We’re so grateful to Kiron and his Dungarees for their continued support of the Patient Financial Assistance Program. We know this is a well-celebrated country music group in Alberta and it means so much that they continue to take the time to raise money for a program that changes the lives of so many Alberta patients and their families,” he says. “The fact that Kiron sees so many of these Albertans in his role at the Cross Cancer Institute is even more meaningful.”
Jhass adds there are many ways to get involved with the Alberta Cancer Foundation.
“There are so many different ways you can support (the Foundation),” he says. “You can donate funds specifically to a site in your area or by different research programs. We also found the website was a great resource to find the different streams you can donate to. We certainly found meaning in that and we think others would, too.”
If you would like more information on how to support the Alberta Cancer Foundation, please visit albertacancer.ca.
Visit ahs.ca/give for a full list of Alberta’s health foundations.