Community champions make special occasions count for kids

Donors, Earl and Cheryl Barish, double the impact to support kids in hospital.

Generous donors find many creative ways to help kids and families. Earl and Cheryl Barish turned a milestone celebration into a way to give better futures for children in hospital.

“Giving is important,” says Cheryl. “We really feel for children, as they are the future of the world and it’s heart wrenching to see them suffer.”

To celebrate Earl’s 80th birthday, Earl and Cheryl sent out a birthday invitation to their friends and family with a unique proposition. Instead of bringing a birthday gift for Earl, the Barishes asked their guests to donate to Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba. They would then MATCH the total amount and support Child Life programming at HSC Children’s Hospital.

“We didn’t know how this would work out, as far as the total amount we would eventually be able to pass forward, but it turned out very well,” says Cheryl.

The final amount donated was $23,526, to provide kids with a Cricut machine, mats, book bags, virtual reality goggles, music therapy supplies and instruments and a Bubble Tube to help develop visual sensory skills.

“We were very happy with the responses of our guests,” says Earl. “It was really meaningful to us.”

He hopes his birthday request encourages others to always think about paying it forward and supporting local charities. 

For Earl and Cheryl, it wasn’t a difficult decision to donate and provide support to kids in hospital. Earl is a long-time supporter of Children’s Hospital, in his business life and through the Earl and Cheryl Barish Foundation.

Over the years, Earl and Cheryl have shown their support to kids by donating to the Outdoor Mental Health Play Space, on Giving Tuesdays, and many other gifts. Earl also created the Salisbury House “Pay it Forward” gift card program, where $7 from every $25 gift card sold, $5 from Salisbury House and $2 from Earl and Cheryl, went to one of five charities, to show gratitude and encourage perpetual change in our community.

“Both of us have always had a desire to do things to help others,” says Cheryl. “With Earl’s entrepreneurial spirit he just moves forward and does things in a way that is wonderful.”

Kids and their families rely on healthcare teams at Children’s Hospital for comfort and support. Earl and Cheryl want the doctors, nurses, and Child Life specialists at HSC Children’s to know how grateful they are for the work they do. 

“The people on the ground, that are doing the work are the people that need the support so they can do what they do,” says Cheryl.

“Often, the easiest thing you can do is to provide financial support. The difficult part belongs to the frontline workers who make things happen.”

The Child Life team is so appreciative of Earl and Cheryl’s generous gifts. Being a kid in hospital can be tough, but donations that fund Child Life programming like the Music Therapy program help provide purposeful and fun opportunities for kids to feel like kids.

March is Music Therapy month and donors can Pay It Forward like Earl and Cheryl.  Donate today to support Child Life programs.

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