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Bowen: Bottle Drive for Leukemia Research

by Joe Bowen / Toronto Maple Leafs

Joe Bowen is the Voice of the Toronto Maple Leafs, having broadcast
over 1,600 Toronto Maple Leaf Games.

The Broadcasters Bottle Drive for Leukemia Research is fast approaching with the two day blitz slated for May 26th and 27th. Hundreds of volunteers will be at the 440 Beer Store locations throughout Ontario asking you to donate all or a portion of your beer, wine, and spirit bottles towards Leukemia Research.

I have been privileged to be joined by Harry Neale of Hockey Night in Canada and Dean Brown of the Ottawa Senators to spearhead this effort.  But it has been the work of Rob Edwards and Frank Falconer of UFCW Local 12R24 along with Ted Clarke the President of the Beer Store and his staff who have pulled this off.

Sixteen years ago I got involved in Leukemia Research when my infant son Sean was diagnosed with ALL the most common form of blood cancer, when he was just one year old.  At the time Sean was given a 95% chance of going into remission and an 80% chance of being cured. Through the efforts of some marvelous Health Care professionals and the great staff at the Hospital for Sick Kids, my son was cured. I also learned at the time that had it been 10 years earlier his chances were only 40% of going into remission and just a 20% chance of being cured. Not long after I began a relationship with the tremendous folks at UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers) and through the years they have raised millions of dollars for Leukemia Research.  Last year in fact they presented a cheque for $1.1 million to the folks at the Leukemia Research. 

Sean just turned 17 and as healthy and as big as a horse.  He and his brothers and many of their friends will be volunteering to help during the Bottle Drive. You can as well simply by going to one of the Beer Stores and registering in advance of the weekend or by logging on to 

Two individuals need to be singled out for their efforts on this project. Sara Taylor and Laurelle Knox have done much of the leg work putting it all together.

I hope that you will enjoy the Victoria Day long weekend and remember to bring your empties back the following weekend May 26th and 27th to help our cause. 

I found out 16 years ago that throwing money at this awful disease makes it go away.  We have a long way to go but we are making great strides daily.  I pray you and your family will never be forced to find out first hand about Leukemia. But do know this, your efforts on the 26th and 27th of this month will go a long way to helping others who do.

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