Nicole Culos-Reed
Nicole Culos-Reed Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

April 22, 2021

Celebrate positive change on UCalgary Giving Day 2021

Making a gift to an area you’re passionate about fuels transformative student experiences, deepens critical research and strengthens our community — and on Giving Day, your support can have double the impact

Sometimes proof of profound, positive change is as subtle as a young person standing taller after winning a scholarship or a cancer patient finding a new level of strength they didn’t know was possible.

Philanthropic giving to the University of Calgary has an enormous impact on elevating student experiences, critical research and a variety of meaningful programs and initiatives. Donor giving and involvement enriches and empowers students, faculty and researchers to spark lasting transformation, and is evidence of this community’s unwavering belief in our institution to make the world a healthier, more resilient place for everyone — from undergraduates to our most vulnerable community members.

Today, on Giving Day, we celebrate the generosity of our community and invite our supporters to continue to make a difference via this annual fundraiser. What makes Giving Day so special is the opportunity to double your impact — all eligible gifts will be matched, up to $2,500 per gift.

Last year, Giving Day raised $1.3 million, a portion of which supported research and programming for UCalgary’s unique Thrive Centre, a free fitness facility that supports programs to improve physical and mental health for cancer survivors and their support persons. Programs include ACE (Alberta Cancer Exercise), which ends as a research study this spring. Its vital continuation will thus be supported by donors.

Your UCalgary is for quality of life after cancer

Headed by Dr. Nicole Culos-Reed, PhD, the Thrive Centre designs, tests and builds evidence-based wellness programs such as ACE that are then sustainably implemented across the community via partnerships with the City of Calgary, Wellspring and the YMCA. “Getting exercise to individuals with cancer improves their physical, mental and emotional well-being,” says Culos-Reed. 

She credits philanthropic endeavours such as Giving Day with helping fuel the recent expansion of ACE to include Project EXCEL — for cancer survivors living in rural and remote areas across the country. 

“Access to these types of programs has been primarily limited to those living with cancer in major urban centres,” says Culos-Reed, who co-leads ACE. “If you're living with cancer in a smaller town, you might come into the city for treatments, but there are no oncology wellness resources where you are — it was critical for us to expand the reach of our program.” 

Another deeply meaningful impact made possible only via philanthropic giving is the Thrive Centre’s recent ability to customize their exercise programs online for those with brain tumours. “This program will tailor ACE, offering individual one-on-one support in an online format, removing barriers and making movement accessible through treatment and beyond.” Donor funds help to provide additional equipment for ACE-Neuro, including ankle and wrist weights with Velcro straps, to ensure safety when exercising.  

“That kind of thing isn’t accounted for in our grants,” says Culos-Reed. “And that is where donor funds make all the difference for our participants.”

Whether you give to critical research, student awards or to any one of UCalgary’s impactful funds this Giving Day — like the Thrive Centre fund — your gift will help change lives and shape the future. Find a fund and make your gift before midnight tonight.