Christmas seals a fundraising tradition

By Contributor
December 20th, 2009

The BC Lung Association is once again in the midst of its largest annual fundraiser – the Christmas Seal Campaign. For over 100 years the arrival of Christmas Seals in mailboxes across Canada has been a cherished holiday tradition and has helped to raise much needed funds for vital lung health and air quality research, programs and initiatives across the province.

“Our fundraising goal for the 2009 campaign is to reach $1 million,” said Keith Murray, Volunteer President of the BC Lung Association. “To help sustain the important lung health research and community education programs we deliver year round we urge British Columbians to give as much as they can this holiday season.”

In Canada, the use of Christmas Seals as a part of the holiday greeting card tradition began in 1908 when the seals were developed to help in the fight against tuberculosis (TB). Not only was the campaign extremely successful with donations from the campaign all but eradicating TB in Canada, but also the seals themselves were loved nationwide, quickly becoming part of the holiday traditions in many Canadian homes.

Tuberculosis was the number one killer in British Columbia at the turn of the last century. In response to the rapid spread of TB, also known as the “white plague”, the Anti-Tuberculosis Society was formed in 1906. The next few years saw several name changes for the Society. In 1964 the British Columbia Christmas Seal Society was formed and finally in 1978 it became the B.C. Lung Association.

However, despite the decline of TB, a new wave of lung diseases and lung health related issues is on the rise. Asthma is reaching near epidemic levels, lung cancer continues to claim more lives than any other cancer and tobacco use remains the number one preventable cause of death and disease in Canada. Today, perhaps more than ever, donations to the BC Lung Association’s Annual Christmas Seal Campaign are urgently needed. A large portion of the money raised in the campaign goes toward research into all lung-related illnesses.

Residents in the Grand Forks-Boundary area have already received the Christmas Seal appeal letter in their mail. This has been delivered to known contributors and the householders to attract new donors. A banner has been strung across Highway 3 in the downtown Grand Forks and the Christmas seal flag is hoisted from the flagpole on top of the Grand Forks City Hall to remind everyone about the campaign.

The BC Lung Association has a strong presence at the Grand Forks Fall Fair and the Rock Creek and Boundary Fall Fair through local volunteers. The association has representation on the Boundary Air Quality Committee, distributes lung health education materials throughout the Boundary Area, provides a bursary to Selkirk College for a student entering the field of respiratory care and provides support to people with lung health issues.

Health education materials, such as non smoking information, are made available to the health units and hospital. Of benefit to those attempting to quit smoking is the online program: quitnow.ca, and the toll free number 1-877-455-2233. Both services are free of charge and are available 24/7.

There is an abundance of material about lung-related diseases and information on environmental concerns such as open burning, woodburning stoves and health and air quality. The DVD Making A Difference – Air Quality and Your Health is in the libraries throughout the Boundary and has been distributed to the schools of the Boundary School District.

The Grand Forks-Boundary Area of the BC Lung Association includes Christina Lake, Grand Forks, Greenwood, Midway, Rock Creek, Bridesville, Beaverdell, Westbridge and Big White. For more information on lung-related matters and the BC Lung Association, contact: Michele at 442-3055 or 1-800-665-LUNG (5864). Donations may be mailed to the BC Lung Association, Box 34009, Stn D., Vancouver, B.C., V6J 4M2.

Please remember to use Christmas Seals on all your holiday mail!

Categories: General