Janis Foligno was always thinking about other people. She was always doing things to benefit others, particularly those in need and less fortunate.
In her death, her family has kept that "giving and caring" spirit alive with the creation of the Janis Foligno Foundation.
Janis passed away in July 2009 after a five-year battle with breast cancer. The foundation was created shortly thereafter as a way of continuing the efforts she put into championing research for the disease.
Over the past two and half years, the foundation has collected more than $150,000, which in turn, has been redistributed to charities which exhibit that same caring nature, Mike Foligno, Janis' husband, explained.
"We've had an outpouring of generosity from our community," he said. "It's a great day when we get to give back to the community."
Foligno and three of his four children — Nick, Lisa and Marcus — recently presented cheques to five local charities, as well as one from the Ottawa area where a portion of the funds have been collected.
Recipients of the funds included ICAN (Independence Centre and Network) Sudbury $2,500; the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in Ottawa, $2,500; Meals on Wheels, $2,500; House of Kin, $5,000; Maison Vale Hospice, $5,000; and the Northern Cancer Foundation, $5,000.
The Northern Cancer Foundation received a second cheque, for $7,500, from the Janis Foligno Foundation as well.
"Cancer research has come a long way," Foligno said. "We have our own research centre now in Sudbury and we want to make sure we're helping them get the resources they need to find a cure.
"We have some of the sharpest minds working right here in Sudbury, trying to find better medicines and outright cures for the disease," Foligno said.
Foligno said his wife was involved with a lot of different charitable organizations in her life.
"There were a lot of things that she showed care and attention to, especially those in need and who are less fortunate," he said. "We've been fortunate to be generating so many dollars. The majority of that money goes back into our community and servicing those people in need, those who need a hand, or those who are trying to live a good life on their own, even though they are disabled."
"We are proud to continue on in Janis's name to keep helping our community every day."
While the Foligno's were handing out cheques to the various charities, the owners of Pat & Mario's Restaurant made a cheque presentation back to the fund. Through a summer fundraising campaign, called Boobies, Burgers and Beer, the restaurant was able to generate $5,970 in donations for the Janis Foligno Foundation.
Leslie Moutsatsos, co-owner of the restaurant, said they are planning to host more fundraisers for the foundation on a yearly basis.
"This fundraiser was not only successful, but also delicious," Foligno said with a laugh. "We tried every burger on the menu."
Gerry Lougheed Jr. also made an announcement at the press conference. Janis Foligno has been posthumously awarded a Paul Harris Award from the Rotary Club of Sudbury Sunrisers. Lougheed said the event, being held next June, is expected to raise in excess of $50,000 for the Janis Foligno Foundation.
Foligno said additional fundraising events are expected to be announced in the coming months.