The group started in 1996 when Allan Epps, then a General Foreman at Vale’s Frood Mine, and his best friend Wayne Tonelli, then a General Forman at Vale’s Garson Mine (now retired), began to organize inter-mine and inter-office hockey and baseball games as a way to get workers together in a social environment outside the workplace.
About Miners for Cancer
The games soon evolved into a small league and then a tournament, for which participants had to pay a small fee. Soon, extra funds started accumulating, so Epps and Tonelli decided to donate the extra funds to charity. Since cancer is a disease that had touched every participant’s life in some way, it was decided that the funds would be donated to cancer research, equipment and patient care in Northern Ontario.
Epps passed away in 2005 after a motorcycle accident, but Tonelli decided to continue to lead Miners for Cancer as a registered charitable organization in memory of his best friend.
Today, the hockey tournament is recognized as the ‘Allan Epps Memorial Hockey Challenge’ and Miners for Cancer has expanded into golf tournaments, curling bonspiels and galas. To date, this group of 8 individuals has raised more than $1,000,000 for the cause.
The Board of Directors and its members who pride themselves on solely being volunteer based, continue to work towards improving cancer care by funding innovative research that is making an impact on the world stage. These extremely motivated individuals have successfully fundraised hundreds of thousands of dollars that contribute directly towards finding a cure and improving the lives of those living with cancer through new equipment and vital patient care. Without the work of Miners for Cancer, nationally competitive research programs would not exist at the Northeast Cancer Centre.
Since its inception, Miners for Cancer has worked with and continues to be supported by over 50 separate organizations and groups including mining companies, mining supply & service providers, labour unions, local non-mining related businesses, as wells as local secondary and post-secondary schools - all of whom continue to be generously committed to Miners for Cancer’s cause – digging for a cure.