A tulip is an expression of passion and undying love. According to Mike Foligno, it was not only his late wife Janis’s favourite flower, it is also a representation of what she stood for.
The flower is the focus of the official logo for the Janis Foligno Foundation, which was unveiled at a press conference June 3.
Janis, who passed away last July, fought breast cancer for the last five years of her life, while simultaneously championing research for the disease as a volunteer with the Northern Cancer Research Foundation.
The Janis Foligno Foundation was created soon after her passing, as a way to continue the battle the mother of four had waged against the disease.
The first step in that battle was brought to fruition last week, as Mike, and children Nick, Lisa and Marcus (Cara was unable to attend), presented a $35,000 donation on behalf of the Janis Foligno Foundation, to the Sudbury Regional Hospital Foundation’s breast cancer equipment fund.
My mom was always very generous to people, and always there for assistance. This foundation is going to do the same thing.
Sudbury Wolves forward
“Janis was a great woman when she was alive, and her memory will be carried on through the works of the family and fundraising events, to help those less fortunate,” Mike Foligno said, to a room filled with family and friends.
The former head coach of the Sudbury Wolves said a key factor in establishing his wife’s foundation was that the funds collected be used locally.
“We wanted to make sure this donation went toward helping women in our community, (by finding) a better way to identify the cancerous tumours and to get an early read on the situation,” he said.
“There’s a lot of people who have been affected with this disease. We’re trying to eliminate it, but the next best thing is we’re tying to treat it as fast as possible.”
Jim Corless, vice-chairman of the Sudbury Regional Hospital Foundation, said, although the breast cancer equipment fund only started in October, it has since grown to $20,000, prior to Foligno’s donation.
“The Sudbury Regional Hospital Foundation will ensure that this donation will be used to help people in our community get a faster and more accurate diagnosis,” he said. “We’re more than halfway towards buying that particular piece of equipment.”
The Foligno’s eldest son, Nick, said the donation was wholly the result of the community’s generosity.
“Since we’ve launched the Janis Foligno Foundation, we’ve been extremely pleased with the response it has generated from the Sudbury community and beyond,” he said “This is a testament to my mother, and the respect her cause has garnered across Ontario.
“My mother Janis was a person who was always ready to give assistance to anyone in need, and the purpose of this foundation shows that her memory will always continue.”
Marcus Foligno, the youngest of the four children and a forward with the Sudbury Wolves, recalled the emotions he felt being part of the Pink in the Rink evening.
“The Pink in the Rink night meant everything,” he said. “To have the players by my side, to have the community involvement, and to recognize hockey moms — especially my mom — was a tremendous honour.”
He said this is the first of many donations to come from the Janis Foligno Foundation.
“Like my brother said, my mom was always very generous to people, and always there for assistance,” he said. “This foundation is going to do the same thing.”
Wolves CEO and owner Mark Burgess also announced at the press conference that his family was contributing an additional $5,000 to the Breast Cancer Equipment Fund, on behalf of the Janis Foligno Foundation.