Jeneece Edroff, O.B.C. Awarded the 2012 Changing Our World/Simms Award for Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy, Ages 5-17
November 15, 2011
Nominated by the AFP Vancouver Island Chapter
At the age of three, Jeneece Edroff was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), a debilitating genetic disease. In her case, tumors grow from the nerve tissues in her spine, causing her vertebrae to become thin and unsupported. After several surgeries, doctors believed she would never walk again and told her parents it was unlikely she would live to be a teenager. True to her nature, she would later run into the surgeon’s office to thank him for “helping me walk again.”
At the age of seven while using her third back brace, Edroff realized just how much that Variety, a children’s charity, was helping her family with the costs related to her illness. She began a penny drive at her school and later presented $164 to Variety during its Show of Hearts Telethon. The following year, with assistance from a local news anchor, she received sixteen tons of pennies, resulting in a contribution of $27,000 to Variety, later matched during the telethon to $54,000. Over the years, the Jeneece and Friends Coin Drive has raised over $1.5 million for Variety.
Edroff began raising funds for several different organizations. For the British Columbia Neurofibromatosis Foundation, she sold flowers at a plant sale, spoke at their annual dinner and auction and sold two pieces of her own art. She partnered with Thrifty Foods, a Vancouver Island food chain, to raise awards and funds for Easter Seal’s Camp Shawnigan, a place for children with disabilities, and spent eight to ten hours a day selling hotdogs and pop on her weekends. She’s also shaved off her hair numerous times to raise money for Camp Good Times, a camp for kids with cancer.
Since 2009, Edroff has been fundraising for her own dream: Jeneece Place, a home away from home for kids and families traveling to Victoria for medical care. Her story inspired TELUS, a Canadian telecommunications firm and AFP’s 2010 Outstanding Corporation, to get involved. A partnership developed between Edroff, the Queen Alexandra Foundation for Children (QAF) and TELUS that resulted in TELUS selecting Jeneece Place to receive the $1 million proceeds from its 2010 World Skins Gold Tournament.
Since her dream of Jeneece Place began, Edroff has been working with Bruce Williams, a local media personality, and other community leaders to help raise the $5.5 million needed to build it. Vancouver Island’s Norgaard Foundation announced a $1 million gift, which was matched by QAF. She has spent hundreds of hours promoting and raising funds for Jeneece Place, with 95 percent of the funds now raised in less than 14 months. Jeneece Place is set to open on Jan. 20, 2012, Edroff’s 18th birthday, allowing 600 families to have a place to call home when they face a medical crisis.
Through her passion and incredible spirit, Edroff has inspired Canadians to give more than $6.7 million in contributions to help children. AFP is pleased to present the Changing Our World/Simms Award for Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy, Ages 5-17, to Jeneece Edroff.