Power to the patients! Vote Dec 3-12 for a new Biobank for the Vancouver Clinic

by Kati and the Phoenix Rising Team

aviva1The Vancouver Chronic Diseases Clinic is set to open within the next few months. What better way to support this worthwhile project than to help it win some serious money from a charitable voting contest? With your help and support, we’re getting organized to do just that! Although the Aviva Community Fund is a Canadian contest for Canadian projects, people from all over the world are eligible to vote. This is where your help is needed! Details on how you can help can be found further down the page, but first, some background information on the project…

A Patient Initiative

A few months ago someone pointed this voting contest out to me, but I had a hard time trying to find a project that would be both helpful for patients while also meeting the entry criteria. However, with Dr Alison Bested taking up the position of Medical Director at The Vancouver Chronic Diseases Clinic, the project to fund the clinic’s most needed item came to mind and an idea was born. Since then, patient involvement has been amazing, including all of you who have spent many hours recruiting voters, voting and also creating videos (such as the ones created by “ME Awareness: Words and Pictures”). Thanks to each and every one of you! But, we’re not done yet ;-), we need to bring it home!

BC Women’s Foundation Steps in

While this project started as a patient initiative, the BC Women’s Foundation have also stepped up to the plate by creating a video for our project. Along with Dr Bested, they provided help with the budget and input about where the funds are needed most. They will also recruit more voters from their own network. The video, presented by Dr Bested, is featured front and center on our Aviva page.

The Project

The idea is to fund freezers for patient samples, including everything needed to process them in the standard way (i.e labelling, spinning and tracking). This equipment will benefit ME, Fibromyalgia and Lyme disease patients admitted to the clinic. Our original idea was to fund the cost of exercise testing equipment (and it is still a very good idea), but when Dr Bested and the BC Women’s Foundation started adding up the cost of both projects, the total had passed over $300,000. Each Aviva project in the “big budget” category cannot be more than $150 000, so we put together a bold project which asks for a total of $146,100 in funding.

The Time-line

10 days, 10 votes, 10 clicks - $150k

Aviva held 3 qualifying rounds, each over the course of 2 weeks. The first 10 projects in each budget size category (small, medium and large) moved on to the semi-finals. By the seat of our pants we have successfully made it through the first round. The competition was intense, but the support we received from all around the world enabled us to place amongst the first round qualifiers.

The Semi-finals are the last chance for the community to help out. We need to qualify for the finals, where our project will be judged and ranked amongst the other projects that make it through. Out of 30 semi-finalists in each budget size category, only 10 will be moving to the finals.

The voting period is from December 3rd to December 12th 2012, beginning at 12/noon Eastern Standard Time (Toronto or New York time). By registering to vote in the Aviva contest, you will be given 15 votes in total. You can vote for our project once per day during the voting period. This will require 10 of your 15 votes.

Everyone around the world can voteHow to Help?

The competition in this last round will be fierce and we will need, at a minimum, 1500 – 2000 votes per day to have a hope of winning. Beyond voting personally, you can help us achieve the votes we need by:-

– asking 5 people right now if they will vote daily starting on Monday

– asking these 5 people if they could get one more person each

– asking if they would like to be reminded daily (you can either connect them to the reminder here  or alternatively, you could set your own reminder each day)

Historically, the voting in these contests has always decreased during the weekends, across all charities – these will be the days where we can gain ground, so please double your efforts on the weekends to ensure that our vote count stays up!

How To Vote?

Some of you may have had trouble voting in the last round. Patients with our diseases suffer from cognitive dysfunction and we are aware of this.  To help you get voting, here are a few aids in the form of reminders and detailed instructions on how to vote in the contest.

Where to vote: Aviva site
Facebook page
You can join this event on Facebook to get daily reminders to vote.

Video explaining how to register and how to vote:

(With thanks to ME Awareness: Words and Pictures)

And finally, you can read written instructions from this flyer:

Aviva voting instructions


Why Should You Help Your Fellow Canadians?

  • Because a new clinic researching and treating ME, FM and Lyme disease will benefit patients worldwide. It means one more researching team. It sets a precedent for other physicians and for other provinces. Canada needs to step in when it comes to researching the Complex Chronic Diseases that have been neglected for far too long.
  • Voting is free and very safe – Aviva will not send you undesired emails.
  • Voting is also very quick and has the potential to do something very good.
  • By building a strong community, we can help each other by voting in funding contests as well as participating in other campaigns when the need arises.
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