2016 Award of Distinction Recipients Douglas and Donna Summerhayes

Mr. Douglas and Mrs. Donna Summerhayes have been selected as the recipients ofHCCC’s 2016 Award of Distinction.

Mr. and Mrs. Summerhayes were chosen for their considerable contributions to the charitable health sector through their establishment of Cystic Fibrosis Canada (previously known as the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation).

Douglas and Donna were the driving force behind organizing a meeting of over 100 parents of children with Cystic Fibrosis (CF), in May 1959, at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. At this meeting, Douglas and Donna inspired others to join them to help create a Foundation to help children with CF in Canada. Over the next year, Douglas and Donna worked tirelessly to incorporate a new charity called the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. For the first two years of the Foundation, Donna carried out all Foundation correspondence and administrative tasks from their home.

With two of their four children born with cystic fibrosis, Douglas and Donna have a very personal connection to the cystic fibrosis (CF) cause. During the early years of the Foundation, Douglas and Donna travelled throughout Canada, usually at their own expense, to establish Chapters across Canada. Today, the median age for people living with cystic fibrosis in Canada is 52.1 years, the highest in the world. At the time that Douglas and Donna Summerhayes founded the organization, most people living with cystic fibrosis did not make it to their 5th birthday. The Summerhayes’ have been crucial to bringing this disease to light in Canada and without their tireless work and leadership, CF care and research would not be where it is at today.

Douglas and Donna are very deserving candidates of the Health Charities Coalition of Canada’s 2016 Award of Distinction. The award was presented to Douglas Summerhayes at HCCC’s CEO Forum Meeting held on May 2, 2017 in Toronto. 

Photo: (from left to right) Janet Yale, HCCC Vice-Chair, President and CEO of the Arthritis Society, Norma Beauchamp, President and CEO of Cystic Fibrosis Canada, Douglas Summerhayes, Founder of Cystic Fibrosis Canada (HCCC Award of Distinction Recipient), and Rick Blickstead, HCCC Chair, President and CEO of Diabetes Canada.

Doug Summerhayes

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