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Gifts in wills

We’re making great strides against cancer.  Many of us can remember when people didn’t even want to say the word ‘cancer’ because of its deadly connotation. Thankfully, that’s changed – a lot.

When the Canadian Cancer Society was founded in 1938, only 25% of those diagnosed would survive their cancers. Donors like you have saved millions of lives. Over the decades, we’ve done a lot. Canadians have given generously to invest in cancer research and new, more effective treatments.

Thousands of Canadians have left gifts in their wills to help make a difference. Those donations have paid off. Today, 65% of people diagnosed with cancer will survive. We’ve come a long– but we still have lots to accomplish.

We’ve made amazing progress in less than one lifetime. But there;s still a lot of work to be done. No one wants a loved one to face a cancer diagnosis. If we keep believing, and keep giving, we can be a force-for-life in the face of cancer.

  • What will your legacy be?

    Most of us reach a stage as we mature when we question the purpose of our lives. Why are we here? What are we here to do? How do we want to be remembered? These are the questions we ask as we begin to consider our legacies. If you’re like most people, you want to leave a footprint on the world that speaks positively of your time here.

    Many of us will be remembered for our best qualities. Our character and generosity. Our joys and our integrity. We’ll be remembered for our roles as husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, friends and neighbours.

    How will you be remembered?

    Almost all of us have had our lives shaken by a cancer experience. Maybe we’ve had cancer ourselves or gone through the cancer journey with a loved one. This disease has left its mark on our lives.

    A gift in your will to the Canadian Cancer Society can be a meaningful remembrance of your cancer experience. It will be a statement of hope for those whose journeys have yet to begin.

  • Is a gift in your will right for you?

    Most of us live pretty simple lives. We learn. We work. We raise our children. We do our utmost to be productive and caring members of our neighbourhoods and communities. Most of us reach the end of our lives without great riches or fame. Yet, if we have lived well, our lives have been fulfilling and full of love.

    As we contemplate our wills, we make important choices. We decide who will receive our material wealth – and who’s worthy of those gifts.

    Who should you include?

    Many of us choose to provide for spouses, children and grandchildren if we have them. Some of us choose to include those causes and organizations that have meant much to us during our lifetimes. If cancer has touched your life, we would be honoured if you would consider a gift in your will. Your bequest will increase the survival odds of those whose cancer journeys are still to come.

    We understand that you may have people who depend on you for financial support. That’s as it should be. But if you are able to provide for family and worthy causes, we would welcome your legacy gift.

    Gifts in wills – a popular legacy choice

    1.5 million Canadians have already chosen to make gifts to charity in their wills. Many noble and generous people have chosen to extend their love beyond their immediate circle.

    Your will reflects what you value in life. In writing a will, your lasting words will echo through the generations and will ensure that your final wishes become a reality.

    “Creating a gift in my will was easy to do, and it honours the memory of Liz. We have to join together to fight this disease, and it’s one of the best investments I could make for a cancer-free future.” – Frank Noneley

    Why leave a bequest?
    • A will is the easiest and most effective means to ensure that you fully provide for your family and that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
    • Your bequest to the Society will go directly to the fight against all cancers – we do everything possible to prevent cancer, save lives and support those living with cancer.
    • Other than the cost of preparing your will, there is no additional cost for you to make a generous gift.
    • A bequest provides the comfort of knowing your assets are still available for you today if needed.
    • A gift in your will allows you to make a tax-effective gift, often eliminating the taxable impact on your beneficiaries.

    At the end of the day, only you can decide what is right for you. If a gift in your will is appealing to you, your legacy can help end cancer in Canada.

  • Extraordinary gifts from people like you

    You’ve probably read about super-bequests in the newspaper or seen stories about them on the news. When a multi-millionaire leaves a huge gift to charity in his will, it becomes a headline. We see these stories and assume that legacy gifts are the domain of the rich alone. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Every day, people from all walks of life make important gifts in their wills. A farmer leaves a bequest to his church. A retired teacher leaves a gift to her local food bank. These gifts don’t make the headlines – but they do so much to improve lives here on earth. Legacy gifts pay big dividends.

    The Canadian Cancer Society has made great strides in helping people beat their cancers. This is because everyday people have chosen to leave gifts in their wills. In fact, these gifts account for about a quarter of all revenues received by the Society.

    There are 1.5 million Canadians alive today who have made charitable bequests. Many of these people are supporting strangers who are about to embark on their cancer journeys.

    Barbara Garvin

    "Now I know that I will help someone with cancer even after I’m gone. It’s a footprint I want to leave behind me."

    Read Barbara's story

    Margaret Williams

    "I give so much credit to those who have given to the Canadian Cancer Society over the years. I feel I owe them my life."

    Read Margaret's story

  • Family comes first

    Many people are drawn to the idea of leaving bequests to charity. Then, many stop and think, “But I need to provide for my family first.” After further thought and consideration, some conclude that providing for family is all that they can do.

    Others decide that they can provide for their families and make a bequest to their favourite charity. These decisions are deeply private and personal.

    After all, we’re deciding on the legacies we want to leave behind when we’re gone. We’re deciding on how we want to be remembered. We’re deciding on how we can sow the seeds of a better world after our lifetimes.

  • Me? A philanthropist?

    People are often surprised to learn how their wills can transform them from “ordinary donors” to “philanthropists.” It’s actually simpler than you might think. Most of us make our charitable donations during our lifetimes from our disposable income. That means that we have so much money per month to spend. We often choose to allocate some of that money to worthy charities.

    But our assets – not our income – give us a different opportunity.

    A simple example

    Take, for example, a couple who bought their home in the 1970s for $38,000. They continued to work year after year. They raised their kids and sent them to school. Grandchildren were born. The mortgage was paid off. Today that $38,000 home is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. When this couple dies, quite an estate will be left behind.

    That’s why 1.5 million Canadians have decided that they can include charities as well as family in their wills. They realize that they can provide for loved ones and make meaningful gifts to their favourite causes.

    Is a bequest your philanthropic opportunity?

    If cancer is a cause that has deeply touched your life, we would welcome your charitable bequest. We promise that your gift will be used well to continue winning the fight against cancer.



Dr Shawn Li I’m extremely grateful to the Canadian Cancer Society for funding my research with an Innovation Grant.

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Taking action against all cancers

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The latest Canadian Cancer Statistics report found that of all newly diagnosed cancers in 2017, half are expected to be lung, colorectal, breast and prostate cancers. Learn what you can do to reduce the burden of cancer.

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