Anyone who has ever tried fundraising knows how hard it can be. Often, the person doing the fundraising has a passion for – or personal connection to – the cause. That’s been the case for Mike Farwell, who has been fundraising since he was an adolescent. Along with his friends, Mike organized a neighbourhood carnival with games, a sweets sale, and even a haunted house built in his father’s garage. The idea was to raise money for the disease two of Mike’s sisters were fighting. That disease is cystic fibrosis (CF), and it would claim the lives of Mike’s sisters in the early 1990s.
As Mike aged, his fundraising matured. The neighbourhood carnival gave way to sponsorship phone calls and email blasts, seeking donations for the annual Walk to Make CF History. A few years later, it was time to sit in a dunk tank, step into a boxing ring with a former world champ and jump out of an airplane. Each new idea had the same goal in mind – to raise more money for CF than Mike had raised the year before.
After so many years of asking – and without an idea that would top jumping out of a plane – Mike thought it was time for a different approach. Instead of just asking for money, Mike offered to do work in exchange for a donation. From weeding gardens to washing windows, Farwell4Hire was born. It has now grown into a staple on Waterloo Region’s fundraising calendar, generating almost $650,000 in donations since its launch in 2014.