In 1986, when Christine McIver’s son Derek was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour, there were very few programs in the province to help children and families navigate the frightening diagnosis of childhood cancer. There were no Alberta cancer camps at the time, so Christine registered Derek in a B.C. camp. Seeing the smile on his face and the laughter in his eyes when he returned home, strengthened her resolve to build an Alberta cancer camp.
Christine wanted her son Derek to have a chance to be a kid again and she wanted to ensure other parents like her would not be alone in their battle with childhood cancer. Working as a volunteer out of her basement in the late 80s, Christine and a group of dedicated parents and volunteers set to work to build a support system for children and families facing childhood cancer. In 1991, this group established the first cancer camps in Alberta under the auspices of the Canadian Cancer Society. In 1994, Christine founded the Kids Cancer Camps of Alberta, an organization dedicated solely to helping children with cancer and their families. Recognized for the quality and diversity of their programming, these life-affirming camps are uniquely designed to meet the needs of the whole family at each stage in the cancer journey, from diagnosis through treatment and even bereavement.
Buoyed by the success of the camps, the volunteers and staff of Kids Cancer Camps knew it was time to begin addressing the full spectrum of childhood cancer. In 1999, the foundation expanded its mandate to include funding of childhood cancer research and hospital programs. In 2008, the foundation established the first scholarship fund in Alberta for cancer patients and survivors. in 2015, Kids Cancer Care introduced an educational support program, to help young people build a solid base - socially, emotionally and academically.
Today, Kids Cancer Care is one of the largest childhood cancer research funders in the country. The foundation now offers more than 20 year-round and summer camp and outreach programs, along with education support program and services to Alberta families. Kids Cancer Care is one of only a handful of charities in North America dedicated to supporting the entire continuum of childhood cancer, fighting the disease on all fronts, with laughter at camp, the best treatments at the hospital and innovative science in the lab and brighter futures through education support and post-secondary scholarships.
As founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Kids Cancer Care, Christine McIver is responsible for the leadership and management of the foundation. Beginning this work in the basement of her home in 1988, Christine has devoted her volunteer and working life to children's cancer programs, garnering national attention for her service to children and families battling childhood cancer. Recognized by the Governments of Canada and Alberta with a Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal and an Alberta Centennial Medal, Christine is also a recipient of a prestigious Canadian Hadassah-WIZO Woman of Achievement Award. She was one of 10 Canadians chosen in 2002 to be on the Maclean’s Honour Roll and she has received a YWCA/Global TV Woman of Vision Award, a Reader's Digest Canadian Hero of the Year Award and a Today’s Parent For Kids Sake Award. And, in 2010, she was awarded the Spirit of COCA Award from the Children’s Oncology Camp Association International.
Christine is the past-president of Candlelighters Canada and served for 12 years as the secretary-general of the International Confederation of Childhood Cancer Parent Organizations. She continues to serve in an advisory capacity on several committees devoted to children's issues.
Christine holds certificates in voluntary and non-profit sector management from the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy and the National Program in Fundraising Education from Mount Royal Univeristy. She earned her Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation in 2002 and is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), the Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE) and has more than 20 years in the non-profit sector. In June 2016, the University of Calgary awarded Christine an honorary doctor of laws degree for her outstanding service to children and families affected by childhood cancer.