Members, friends, family, followers:

The time has come for a way overdue wrap up blog post on our wildly successful #DCL4AEDs campaign. I’m still reeling from the wild ride of this past summer, but if I don’t get this done now, then no one will remember what I am talking about by the time the buzz wears off.

To adequately summarize this campaign, I feel what makes the most sense is to start from the beginning.

Over the years of our existence, Dad Club London has snowballed from a group of guys who know each other and have kids, to a full-blown grassroots movement of kind hearted and generous local dads with a desire to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others.   Along the way, we have laid inroads with some super awesome local folks who have pushed us to aim big and shoot for the stars.

One of those individuals is a local dad named Jake Skinner who is also a school board trustee for Thames Valley.  He and I sat down in June and he told me the tragic story of Andrew Stoddart, a 15 year old boy in Oxford County who passed away from sudden cardiac arrest while playing soccer at school.  Had an Automated External Defibrilator been on site, he would have had a good chance at survival.

Jake issued the challenge to us. Could could we possibly raise enough money to purchase a defibrillator for every high school by September of 2017? This amounted to 13 schools and $24,500.

Jake had personally witnessed our love for giving back and supporting causes that benefitted children, and although it was over 3x the size of our biggest individual effort to date, we were game for the challenge.

This is where things BLEW UP.  In behind the scenes planning, we pictured scratching, clawing, and limping over the finish line for $24,500 after our golf tournament on September 23rd.  Boy, were we wrong.

In the first three days of planning for the public announcement of our campaign, we simply informed our members privately of the challenge, and virtually passed the hat around.  We hit $4,000 in the first 72 hours.  Great start.

Once we announced the campaign officially, a few local businesses stepped up huge and donated over $1,000 each – thank you goes out to Brawny Movers, Gopher Wood Construction, and Donaldson Heating and Air Conditioning for believing in us enough to plunk down giant donations with no questions asked, and to give immediate legitimacy to our giant task.

We then signed up a few big local businesses to assist in promoting our event, accepting donations, and spreading the word – thank you to Palasad and to Source For Sports for immediately stepping up to the plate and enlisting their staff and local influence to spread the word of our campaign and hit up their own customers for donations to support it.  Source For Sports even got a local grandmother to plunk down a $2,500 donation at the cash register while checking out her purchase – Londoners never cease to amaze me!

The media then began calling – we were featured all over London, including on CBC London, AM980, 1290 CJBK, FM96, CTV News, 98.1 Free FM, The Londoner, and a few others.  Many of the news features can be seen on our News Page.

Our campaign then expanded to include 20 cash boxes at registers all over London – major credit to Lynn’s Bakery and Deli,Pizza Pizza White Oaks Mall Food Court, and 2001 Audio Video for having the most successful cash box hauls.

Our members embraced our efforts and became fully empowered by them.  A number of them solicited donations from partners, suppliers, and employees of their business.  Many donated or picked up empties from other members.  Others sold their used goods to each other, with the full purchase amount going to our campaign.  Many also gave extremely generous donations simply in exchange for a tax receipt.  CLC Tree Services even lent their grinder to an employee and Dad Cub member named Ian Rowe for the day, and he single handedly raised $1600 in one day simply by grinding out stumps for people and donating the cash to the campaign! The dedication was simply incredible.

We were able to spread the word of our campaign far and wide through great media exposure, tons of grassroots front line publicity through some of the most popular local businesses, a professional video PSA created and donated by member Ryan Gregory, and also by the word spreading through our sister club, Mom Club London to their almost 6,000 local moms.

We are proud to announce that we hit our goal of $24,500 in only 26 days.  This result simply blew us away.  The response to our request of making our local schools safer and avoiding the risk of up to 10 more individuals passing away from SCA while awaiting public funding to buy defibrillators really resonated, and we knocked it out of the park.

At this point, we were happy to step back since we hit our initial ask, and let our members keep running with the campaign and simply facilitating their efforts and donations.

One of our members, Stephen Roach, who is the new vehicle sales manager at Competition Toyota, convinced his superiors to donate $50 from every new vehicle sold in the month of August to our campaign.  70 vehicles later, we received our biggest individual donation of $3,500 to our campaign.  Incredible work and generosity by all Competition Toyota staff!

The connections and networking of Dad Club London continued to flourish.   Jake Skinner also recruited 3 Dad Club London directors to join the Optimist Club of Oakridge Acres.  I approached the President of the Optimist Club, a fine gentleman by the name of Rick Gillespie, and asked him if the club might be willing to purchase the defibrillator needed for Oakridge Secondary School.  He told me he was 100% in, but needed the approval of the board of directors.  Lo and behold, a cheque for $2000 was issued immediately after the first board meeting after the summer break.  It’s such a powerful feeling to unite with other non-profit organizations to support the safety and well being of our children.

While all this was going on, we had a golf tournament committee, led by Director Alex Davy, kicking ass behind the scenes in organizing our first ever golf tournament.  It occurred on Sept 23rd at Westminster Trails, and for only $80 a golfer we were able to recruit 106 golfers and 25 sponsors, and gross $15,000 towards our campaign.

Large donations from businesses kept coming in – we received big cheques from Jumbo Video, Leckie Installs, Clarke’s Services, Duo Building, Family Physiotherapy Centre London, Function First, Haymach Canada Inc, Custom Home Inspection Services, Frugal Finds, The Closers Realty, Forest City Property Management, KMS Property Management, LDA Construction, Portside Insurance, Play Away, MNL Contractors, Elgin Speech and Language Services, Nick and Andrea Davies Realty Firm, Quality Carpentry, Perani’s Hockey World, Regent Granite and Marble, Bifana Boys, Super Audio Video, Backyard Escape Studios, DHS Electrical, SoleScience, Snipe Academy, and VS Drywall.

These companies all proved to us that they believe London area children’s health and well being are of the utmost importance to them, and we admire all of their generosity.

We also would like to thank our long list of generous golf tournament sponsors, which includes:

Our builder sponsors – Nevtro Pumps and Mechanical, Sloan Stone Design. Baile Aisling Exteriors, and Millennium Construction and Design

Our friends sponsors: London Police Association, Palasad, SlyFox Media, Donaldson Heating and Air Conditioning, Safe Home Fireplace, and Hot Cold and Freezing

Our hole sponsors; Hair Haus, Burrito Boys, Derek Tang of TD Bank, KMS Property Management, Charles Bailey of Stride Rehab, Brad Howard, Realtor, Super Audio Video, London Brewing Co-Op, Food Safety Alliance, Leckie Installs, Michael Pope, Realtor, Anita Pimental, Realtor, RBC South London, and London Access

The overarching theme of this blog is one of shock, awe, and gratitude.  We set a goal of raising $24,500 in roughly 3 months.  We did that in 26 days.  We raised exactly $53,000 on the nose by the time it was all said and done, and we presented the cheque to Thames Valley District School Board on September 26, 2017.


To see our impressive list of donors, check out the AED Donor Hall of Fame

Thank you, every one of you, from the bottom of our hearts for stepping up and going above and beyond just like dads are known to do.  Ask a dad to replace a lightbulb, he might build you a new garage.  Ask a dad to raise the money to put defibrillators in 13 London high schools, they will raise enough to put one in every single high school in the region, and 21 elementary schools as well.

Our defibrillators went to every TVDSB high school that did not have one. Once all high schools were set, the following 21 elementary schools also received an AED:

  • Trafalgar PS
  • Ealing PS
  • Mountsfield PS
  • Cedar Hollow PS
  • Sherwood Fox PS
  • Hillcrest PS
  • John Dearness PS
  • Lord Roberts PS
  • Riverside PS
  • Tecumseh PS
  • Parkview PS
  • North Meadows PS
  • Arthur Stringer P.S.
  • CC Carrothers P.S.
  • Nicholas Wilson P.S.
  • Cleardale P.S.
  • Woodland Heights P.S.
  • Knollwood P.S.
  • FD Roosevelt P.S.
  • Victoria P.S.

 

In closing, thank you to every single one of you for re-defining the concept of stepping up.  We are only as strong as the members who support us, and over this summer we basically turned into a mish mash of Voltron, Megazord, Magnus Vermagnusson, and Ronnie Coleman.  You all did that for us.

With the greatest gratitude felt since Willy jumped over Jesse as he stood on those rocks,

Sincerely,
Jeremy McCall
Co-Founder and President,
Dad Club London

 

 

 

President Jeremy McCall’s AED Campaign Launch Video