Keystone Environmental is giving back in a big way, helping a Vancouver-based charity that helps kids and their families deal with juvenile arthritis and other rheumatic diseases.
The Burnaby environmental firm is giving $25,000 to Cassie and Friends, a grass roots charity started by the parents of a child with juvenile arthritis. Ten thousand of that is one-third of the $30,000 the company is donating to three charities for its 30th anniversary.
The company is also encouraging employees to join Team Cassie and Friends in the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon and 5K Charity Challenge on Sunday, June 24. And the company also educates its employees about the disease.
“We had Cassie and Friends come in and talk to our staff about what they do. David Porte came in and told the story about his daughter and just what juvenile arthritis is, and the challenges with the disease,” said Raminder Grewal, president of Keystone. “In our company there are a lot of young families with kids, and they couldn’t imagine their son or their daughter going through something similar.”
The decision to support Cassie and Friends was based on the fact that it was a grassroots organization, so all the money would go towards helping children, and because Keystone had a longstanding business relationship with Porte Communities, of which Porte is president.
Porte established Cassie and Friends after running the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon and 5K Charity Challenge in 2007. His daughter had been diagnosed with juvenile arthritis the previous September, when she was 20 months old.
“When our daughter Cassie was first diagnosed we experienced the fact that we didn’t know anybody else with juvenile arthritis, she didn’t know any other kids with juvenile arthritis, and the doctors and all the healthcare team at the hospital are fantastic, but they have lots and lots of patients. Once you walk out the door you’ve got to sort it out on your own, and we realized there’s this big gap there where you walk out the door of the clinic,” Porte told the Now. “We saw all these big gaps that existed.”
Cassie and Friends provides support for kids with juvenile arthritis and their families, shares information with schools and the community, and also funds research. Its goal is to “transform lives,” according to its website.
The organization has had a relationship with Keystone for years.
“They’ve been great to work with, we’ve been so thankful for everything they’ve done,” Porte said. “Our mission in our organization is transforming lives, but we work with these companies that help transform our organization.”
Symptoms of juvenile arthritis include joint stiffness, pain, swelling, and fatigue.
For more information about Cassie and Friends and the work it does, go to cassieandfriends.ca.