December, 2014 ANNUAL REPORT
What an extraordinary year! Our focus continues to be on convincing women and their partners to avoid alcohol when planning and during pregnancy. 2014 has been a breakthrough year for FASworld’s ongoing communication message about the devastating scope and cost of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)*.
Baby Bump Campaign: Two years ago, a brilliant creative team was convened by Tony Miller, Executive Creative Director of Anderson DDB Advertising. Supporting Tony at that time was Steve Morgan of Mr. G. Advertising (then known as Soda & Tonic Advertising) and freelance creative genius Boris Matas. Currently at Mr. G we are supported by key executives Susan Ramsay, Chris Glowienka, Mike Pelchovitz and Bruno Mackay. Along with their skilled staff, they are completing a total redesign of our fasworld.com website so that it may be more readily followed on smart phones and tablets. Under the creative inspiration of Boris, our key campaign has been aptly titled “The Baby Bump Program”.
We wanted our message to be as positive and upbeat as possible in order to get acceptance and understanding from our key audiences. The campaign espoused MOM, HOPE, JOY and LOVE and was quickly adopted by MOFAS (Minnesota Organization on FAS) and promoted widely throughout the state in the spring of 2014. Over late August and early September of this year – to coincide with the 16th international FASDay – the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) provided signage and handout materials throughout its 647 stores across Ontario. Further enquiries have been received from Alaska, California and Tennessee for permission to use the Baby Bump Campaign which we license for a fee based on the size of the market.
FASDay: Since creating International FASD Awareness Day in 1999, we have seen its observance grow until FASDay is now seen in every time zone around the world on Sept. 9 in 42 countries and counting. As a result of our collaboration with LCBO, local Toronto media has finally acknowledged our annual event and we received extensive coverage this year in spite of the usual overlap with the media-devouring Toronto International Film Festival. Please see the separate report from our media relations counsel, Danielle D’Agostino.
FASworld Toronto: Currently meeting monthly at Sick Children’s Hospital, our family FASD support group has been providing counselling and comfort to families reeling from the outcome of foster, adoption and birth children with diagnoses of FAS and ARND since 1998. Several years ago we obtained charitable status for FASworld Toronto (FWT) and more recently for FASworld Canada (FWC). Because the two organizations are so closely linked, we have agreed to keep charitable status with FWC and allow the FWT support group to continue as an independent, volunteer-run organization. A newly constituted FWC board of directors will provide oversight and guidance for FWT as well as for all other FASworld affiliates here in Canada and abroad. Family support groups who follow the FASworld commitment to its mission and vision are welcome to apply for affiliate status and to use “FASworld” in their name. There is no charge for this application but permission must be requested from the FWC Board of Directors.
Although FWC became a federally constituted organization in 2002, a general meeting was called in 2011 to review its constitution and by-laws. This took place in Salmon Arm, BC that year and a Board of Directors was duly elected from among those who had expressed an interest in serving and who wanted to participate in the election process. Since then, several directors have resigned and a new slate will be offered to the membership in the new year. Bonnie and Brian will continue to offer their services in the nomination process and will be looking for a suitable succession-planning process as time goes on.
NOFAS Leadership Award: FASworld became the Canadian affiliate of NOFAS this year. At the summer affiliate conference in Washington DC, Bonnie & Brian received the NOFAS 25th Anniversary Leadership award for their pioneering work creating international awareness of FASD. The theme of the Annual NOFAS Gala in the Fall was International FASD Awareness day created by FASworld. Hearty congratulations came from former US Senator Tom Daschle and Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski.
Tom Donaldson, Pres. of NOFAS and spokesperson Kathy Mitchell present Bonnie & Brian with the NOFAS 2014 Leadership Award.
Sponsorships: MOFAS and LCBO have been the major sponsors of our Baby Bump Campaign this year but we also gratefully acknowledge significant financial support or professional services from the following:
- McBurney Family Trust
- Boris Creative.com
- Anderson DDB Health & Lifestyle
- Ledgley Law
- Mr. G Advertising
- Instil Productions
- Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (Ontario)
- Dante Matas Music
- Peggy Oba at FASIN
- Plus numerous family memorial donations
FASworld has always been run by volunteers and operating expenses have been covered by donations, workshop fees and sales of such items as books and FASKnot lapel pins. The organization has never had core funding and relies upon the goodwill of so many generous individuals, agencies and companies. Without them FWC would not survive and this critical work would remain undone.
On the Family Front: This was a very positive year for the Buxton/Philcox families. Apart from the honour received from NOFAS, we were pleased to see that Colette continued to sustain a strong motivation to parent her children as effectively as she could – with particular emphasis on maintaining equilibrium for Kenny who continues to struggle with his ARND deficits. Colette has shown that she is a valiant mother for her children ensuring that they are receiving the appropriate care and supports from the medical community and from each of their schools. Vicky continues to work part-time at the horse farm where she is devoted to the animals. Her ambition is to study as a vet and we think that she could handle that program very well. Cleo has also maintained a steady relationship with her current partner Joe who also has a similarly fragile personality as she. In spite of normal ups and downs in their relationship, they continue to support each other and we look forward to them finding projects that will take them beyond the narrow scope of their lives.
Brian’s right hip reached the point of no return so replacement surgery took place at the end of September. Bonnie’s foot and knee issues were a big distraction but they both soldier on with the aim of finding suitable successors to take over FASworld in the years to come.
*Cost of FASD in Canada: Although many experienced diagnosticians and other clinicians now estimate that the incidence of FASD may be as high as 3-5%, by using the official Health Canada count of 1% of live births, we are looking at as many as 350,000 Canadians who are currently struggling with some form of this disability. We estimate that the lifetime costs for each of these individuals at $2 million for health issues, special education, welfare and criminal justice. This represents a total of over $600 billion (roughly equivalent to the national debt) of unbudgeted cost to society. This does not include the anguish and social disruption costs to families and other loved ones.
Dec. 18/14; updated Jan.2/15