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HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, Canada -- Irving Oil's Fuel the Care program marked a milestone, reaching its 10th anniversary this year, the company announced. The program has provided fuel gift cards to more than 35,000 families in Atlantic Canada and New England who must travel frequently to provide their children with urgent medical care.
"Fuel the Care meant so much to us during the time we needed to travel. We lived in daily fear that we would lose our sons before they were even born," said Beth Peters, a former gift card recipient. Peters and her husband Ralph received aid from Fuel the Care following nine weeks of 400-mile round-trip travel to the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, followed by hospitalization, to treat her unborn twins for Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. "You can't believe the relief we felt when we heard there was a program out there that could help us with these expenses," she said.
Social workers at the IRK Health Centre administer the gift cards to qualifying families in Prince Edward Island. "The program has been a beacon of hope for many of our patient families," said Heather Prosser, one of IWK's social workers.
Other participating Fuel the Care hospitals are the Saint John Regional Hospital in Saint John, New Brunswick; the Janeway Child Health and Rehabilitation Centre in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador; EMHS in Maine; and the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (CHaD) in New Hampshire.
"Many of us have seen how devastating it is for a family when a child becomes ill. We know Fuel the Care does not solve all of their worries when their children face illness, but it does allow them to have one less thing to be concerned about," said Mike Ashar, president of Irving Oil. "Over the last 10 years, we have received tremendous, positive feedback from Fuel the Care families. So, as the program continues to grow, we are proud to offer this service to ease the burden on families in communities throughout Prince Edward Island."
Irving Oil is a privately owned regional refining and marketing company that operates Canada's largest refinery and exports more than 80 percent of its products to the United States. It founded Fuel the Care in 2002 and has donated more than $2 million in fuel gift cards, as well as provided $350,000 in funding for research into childhood diseases.