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Woman2Warrior Blog #2
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A Partnership over 50 Years in the Making 
How CHAS and Easter Seals Alberta Became Partners

 
By Julie-Anne Cleyn
 
Did you know that the Children’s Hospital Aid Society (CHAS) and Easter Seals Alberta once organized a beard contest? 

Did you know the two groups have been partners for 58 years? 
CHAS is a group of women that has been fundraising for the children of Calgary for over 108 years. In 1945, the group began selling Christmas stamps to raise money to build a new children’s hospital. When the campaign achieved a profit of $4,363 and other provinces started to copy the idea, CHAS knew the fundraiser was successful. It was continued annually.
 
However, when the National Council for Crippled Children and Adults (now called Easter Seals) ran an Easter Seal campaign for Alberta in 1956, it was recorded as an “impossible situation” in CHAS’ archived minutes because the groups were running conflicting campaigns at the same time. So, in 1958, CHAS and Easter Seals Alberta became partners. They agreed to work together for five years, splitting the profits of the stamp sales. Throughout the 1960s, CHAS and Easter Seals Alberta signed agreements yearly.
 
They ran fundraisers in addition to the stamps campaign, including the Don Luzzi beard contest, inspired by the Stampeders player who grew a playoff beard in the 1960s when the idea was quite radical. An Easter Seals tea with a live lamb in attendance, a fashion show of bonnets made with Easter Seals stamps (modeled by CHAS members) at Hudson’s Bay and a 50-pound Easter egg raffle were other highlights.
 
CHAS’ proceeds initially went to the Children’s Hospital building fund. However, in 1958, the province began to run the hospital, and CHAS started providing equipment needs, including a heli-pad, and supporting broader community needs, including the Pink Pelican Fund (now Between Friends Club), Ronald McDonald House and HandiBus. Easter Seal funds have always supported urgent cases not funded by government or private aid agencies.
 
In 1988, CHAS voted to continue to run the Easter Seals campaign under the Easter Seals name. Eight years later, the Easter Seals March of Dimes National Council recognized CHAS for most dollars raised. During the 80s and 90s, CHAS became less involved in the fundraiser as Easter Seals staff and modern technology took on more of the work. In 2000, CHAS voted to relinquish the campaigns operations to Easter Seals.
 
Though CHAS’ involvement with the stamps campaign ended after 55 years, today, CHAS and Easter Seals continue to partner in new ways – like Woman2Warrior, and CHAS has raised over $650,000 over the course of the partnership to date

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