David Kelly Award for Community Service

The David Kelly Award for Community Service is awarded annually to one individual who exemplifies the spirit of community service in support of the brain tumour community in Canada. This award, previously the Chair’s Award for Community Service, has been renamed in honour of brain tumour advocate and fundraising leader David Kelly, from Fredericton, New Brunswick, who passed away in October 2014.

Congratulations to the recipients of the 
2019 David Kelly Award for Community Service!

2019 David Kelly Award for Community Service - Amie and Mark Donais

Amie and Mark Donai receive the award from Chris Sullivan, Chair of the Board of Directors and Ice Dancer Piper Gilles

Recognised for their passion and commitment to Rigatoni for Research.  

15 years, 7 events and $170,000 later, Mark, Amie and their committee have funded seven $25,000 research grants and supported three $5000 youth education awards through funds raised by Rigatoni for Research. 

Mark and Amie’s creativity knows no limits. From innovative fundraising ideas, unique themes and games, they continue to spark the passions of their friends, colleagues and community neighbours who are often found not only attending the event but contributing prizes and auction items. 

Over the last 15 years, Rigatoni for Research committee members have come and gone but Mark and Amie have been the event’s constants; always welcoming fresh faces to the committee while staying true to ideals of the original committee. 

It is Mark and Amie’s tireless efforts and passion for the brain tumour community that make them such deserving recipients of the 2019 David Kelly Award for Community Service. 

2019 David Kelly Award for Community Service - Barbie Brown and Rob Reichenbacher

Barbie Brown and Rob Reichenbacher receive the award from Chris Sullivan, Chair of the Board of Directors and Ice Dancer Piper Gilles

In 2015, Barbie Brown and Rob Reichenbacher lost their 12 year old daughter Shandy to a brain tumour.  Determined to keep Shandy’s dream to find a cure for brain cancer alive, they created “Shandy’s Dream for a Cure” to raise much needed funds for pediatric brain tumour research. 

Over the last five years, the small town of Edson, AB has come together every June to support Barbie and Rob and to remember Shandy.  It is through their passion and with the support of their community, that they have raised over $100,000 in support of pediatric research.  

Determined to use their families’ loss for good, they recognize the importance of increasing awareness about brain tumours.  They often share Shandy’s story to raise awareness about this devastating disease and have become ambassadors to those in their community who have also been affected by a brain tumour.

We are so grateful to Barbie and Rob for their passion and unwavering support as we award them the 2019 David Kelly Award for Community Service.

2018 David Kelly Award for Community Service - Dr. Lisa Porter

Dr. Lisa Porter receives the award from Chris Sullivan, Chair of the Board of DirectorsA brain tumour researcher and passionate advocate for the brain tumour community, Dr. Lisa Porter believes in the power of hope. She has dedicated her life to supporting the brain tumour community because she cares about the future of others. 

In addition to her role as a Principal Investigator on brain tumour grants, Dr. Porter dedicates a significant amount of time, energy and passion to building a collaborative research community. She believes strongly that great discoveries require many minds and that elevating the work of others will benefit the brain tumour community.

She never turns down an opportunity to speak to individuals, participates in community events, and opens her lab to the public to learn about local research critical to the brain tumour community’s health and well-being. Dr. Porter’s impact on the brain tumour community can be felt across the spectrum of people affected by brain tumours; from clinicians and fellow researchers, to students and patients, families and the local community. 

It is Dr. Porter’s commitment to the brain tumour community and her tireless efforts to make a difference in the lives of those who are affected by a brain tumour that makes her such a deserving recipient of the 2018 David Kelly Award for Community Service.


In 2017 there were too many valuable submissions for just one award, so we awarded two people with the David Kelly Award for Community Service. See below to find out why.

2017 David Kelly Award for Community Service - Jennifer Gouchie-Terris 

Jennifer Gouchie-TerrisJennifer lost her 18-year-old son Brandon to a brain tumour in October, 2012. A long-time supporter of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, she and her husband Darren cycled 500 km from Angkor Wat, Cambodia to Bangkok, Thailand last November to raise money and support for the Foundation’s Canadian Brain Tumour Registry. Their fundraising goal was $10,000 which is representative of the estimated 10,000 Canadians diagnosed with a brain tumour each year. Jennifer tripled her goal and presented the Foundation with over $30,000 to support this project close to her heart. A resident of New Brunswick, she has done numerous events to support this project including joining forces with the east coast Team Brain Tumour at the Blue Nose Marathon in Halifax to raise additional funds. Jennifer’s continuing support of this project has been instrumental on moving through the next stages of the Registry.  Thank you, Jennifer, for your tremendous commitment to the Foundation and for helping ensure that every brain tumour will count. 

2017 David Kelly Award for Community Service - Connor Thomson

Connor ThomsonSince his diagnosis in 2011, Connor has been actively fundraising through “Birdies for Brain Tumours”, an annual golf tournament in support of the Foundation. Since its inception in 2012, the tournament has raised over $200,000 for the foundation in support of our research program. Although he has undergone 5 brain tumour surgeries, multiple rounds of chemotherapy and 30 treatments of radiation, Connor has remained at the helm of this tournament.

He is always willing to share his story and supports activities happening in the Winnipeg area so he can do his part to raise awareness about research for this disease. Most recently he shared his personal story on Global News for the Winnipeg Police Association Half Marathon. Connor, please accept our sincerest thanks for your leadership and commitment to funding brain tumour research. 

2016 David Kelly Award for Community Service - Blair Shunk

Blair Shunk - David Kelly Award for Community Service recipient 2016Blair has been at the helm of the annual Banff Jasper Relay for more than a decade – in fact, 2016 was the event’s 11th year running and had its biggest turnout ever with 64 teams and over 900 runners participating.

Blair, who revived this annual relay marathon in honour of a loved one and avid runner who passed away from a brain tumour in 2004, thought it was only fitting to do so in Garth's honour and, at the same time, to raise awareness and funds to help those impacted by the same disease that took his friend’s life.

Since its first year, the Banff Jasper Relay has raised well over $250,000 for brain tumour research and programs. 

2016 David Kelly Award for Community Service - Chris Wiebe

Chris Wiebe - David Kelly Award for Community Service recipient 2016Our second David Kelly Award for Community Service recipient for 2016 is Chris Wiebe.

Chris joins us from Alberta, and was nominated by Glenda and John Szpecht. John happened to meet Chris – who is a drummer, composer, songwriter and music student in Edmonton – and shared with him the dream of creating an album from the stories and experiences of individuals and families who have experienced a brain tumour. This was a dream near and dear to John’s heart as his son Andrew passed away at the young age of 24  due to brain cancer.

Giving Back Memories was completed in 18 short months, with Chris writing lyrics, composing and arranging music, and performing on several of the album's songs; he organized and coordinated 38 musicians for 10 days of recording in a professional studio and served as the Executive Producer for the CD. 

2015 David Kelly Award for Community Service - Yaron Butterfield, Vancouver, BC

Yaron is the recipient of the 2015 David Kelly Award for Community Service. Awarded annually to an individual who exemplifies the spirit of community service in support of those on the brain tumour journey, this award was named in honour of brain tumour advocate and fundraising leader David Kelly, from Fredericton, New Brunswick, who sadly passed away in October 2014. Yaron, has been presented with this award in recognition of his tireless commitment to supporting the Canadian brain tumour community.

Yaron is a long-time supporter of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada and the BC Cancer Agency. He’s contributed his time and immeasurable talents to everything from video production, to co-chairing patient-family advisory councils, to coordinating the Vancouver Spring Sprint (now Brain Tumour Walk) – the annual fundraising walk that benefits patient programs and brain tumour research. Beyond this involvement, there have been many weekends where Yaron participates in the Ride to Conquer Cancer, braving the elements to help those in need. In fact, his team, the Brainiacs, have now raised more than one million dollars for cancer research!

Not one to hide his own experiences, Yaron openly shares his brain tumour journey through his personal website and uses social media to reach out to others facing a diagnosis. His candor and honesty in speaking with people about brain cancer and his own journey with the disease is truly remarkable. 

2014 Chair's Award for Community Service Awardee - Ross MacDougall, Halifax, NS

Ross McDougall Chairs Award Awardee 2014Because of his incredible initiative, innovation, commitment and leadership, Ross MacDougall of Halifax, Nova Scotia was presented with this inaugural award.

Ross developed the fundraising event Concert for the Cure in May 2010 and since then, approximately, $120,000.00 has been raised. Of these funds, $94,000.00 has been used to establish the R. Angus King Endowment Fund to support research studentships and student scholarships – in support of the vision to find the cause of and a cure for this disease.

Held annually, the same weekend as the Halifax Spring Sprint, this concert brings together the brain tumour community for an evening of celebration and hope while also raising funds and awareness for the cause.

The impact that Ross has made for the 27 Canadians diagnosed every day through both this special event and the hope provided by research is inspirational to everyone involved in the cause.

David Kelly Award for Community Service Criteria

  • Initiative: The nominee recognizes a need in the brain tumour community and responds.
  • Innovation: The nominee’s activity is innovative or unique in its approach (e.g. establishing a new program).
  • Impact: The nominee is making a significant positive impact in the brain tumour community.
  • Commitment: The nominee demonstrates substantial, continuing and current involvement.
  • Inspiration: The nominee inspires others to contribute in a meaningful way.
  • Leadership: The nominee demonstrates or is developing leadership capacity. 
  • Special Qualities: The nominee’s overall contribution to community service makes them particularly worthy of the David Kelly Award for Community Service.

For more information on the David Kelly Award for Community Service, please contact:

Jennifer McIntosh
Human Relations Manager
1-800-265-5106 or 519-642-7755, ext. 231


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