This content is made possible by our sponsors. Learn more about our OBJ360 content studio here.

As CHEO turns 50, the business community is more important than ever

CHEO Foundation president and CEO Steve Read reflects on their accomplishments

The front of CHEO, the children's hospital of eastern ontario in Ottawa, Canada

A group of concerned Ottawa mothers was the catalyst for bringing CHEO to life.

They managed to convince the late Mayor Don Reid to put building a children’s hospital on his 1964 campaign platform, and he followed through. CHEO’s construction began in the early 1970s, with completion in 1974.

As the children’s hospital turns 50 this year during a time of rapid advancement and change, CHEO Foundation is adapting along with it by making giving even easier. 

Instead of a one-night marathon television broadcast, this year the telethon is a two-week online and television campaign highlighting the impact of your donations to CHEO, CHEO Research Institute, and Roger Neilson Children’s Hospice.

Starting May 27, you can make an online donation and from June 3 to 7 you can catch interviews with many of the families CHEO has supported over the years on CTV Morning Live, NEWSTALK 580 CFRA, and the evening news.

The grand finale will be aired on June 8 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on CTV.

“If we could turn the clock back and speak to the visionaries who founded CHEO, my guess is that in their wildest dreams, they wouldn’t have imagined how much we’ve grown,” said CHEO Foundation CEO and president, Steve Read. “I suspect they would be very proud.”

How your donations help

The scope of CHEO’s accomplishments is only possible due to the strong relationship the Foundation maintains with the local community and CHEO’s leadership. 

When Read speaks to parents about their biggest concerns, the most common right now is mental health and wait times. “Kids these days are impacted by screen time and social media, which has contributed to more anxiety, depression and eating disorders,” he said.  

“And because of the significant population growth for kids and youth in this region, CHEO needs to grow to meet the demand,” he added. “Right now, wait times are too long for kids – often longer than for adults.”

Due to that continuous dialogue, donors can feel confident their contributions are providing support where it’s needed most. 

But one local business in particular sponsors CHEO because of the impact the hospital has had on their lives.

“Three members of our family had a congenital cardiac history, which is why we’re under the care of the wonderful team at the cardiology clinic,” said Cristelle Vallieres of Subaru Outaouais. “Dr. Gow has been our saviour for more than 30 years.”

While Valliere’s two sons, Leo-Christof and Henry-Paul, are current patients at CHEO, it was the care their mother Cristelle received that made having a family possible for her and her husband, Jeremi. 

Having spent a lot of time at the hospital, the family quickly learned that they were fortunate in some ways. 

“We could see other patients who were less lucky than us when it came to getting diagnosed,” said Valliere. “We hope our support will help heal other young patients with new techniques.”

How to help

If your business wants to support CHEO there are many ways to do so: hold a workplace campaign, sponsor a signature event or make a corporate donation.

“That continued cycle of support from the business community has been a hallmark of CHEO since the very beginning,” said Read. “It’s hard to imagine Ottawa without CHEO.”

You can donate during the entire two-week campaign through this website, or by calling: 613-730-CHEO (2436) between June 3 and June 8.

Follow us and be part of the magic at #CHEOtelethon.