‘The Ultimate Team Captain’ Honoured as North America’s Top Volunteer Fundraiser

oCash, Sweat & Tears Award Winner Chris McPhee’s Cycling Team Has Raised Nearly $700,000 for Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation

Chris McPheeChris McPhee is the type of supporter nonprofits dream about.

The 42-year-old paramedic has personally raised $30,000 for the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation through the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer. But the ride’s organizers say his work leading the Paramedics for the Cure ride team — an effort that has raised nearly $700,000 for the organization — is both inspiring and extraordinary.

In recognition of his inspiring example, the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum is honouring McPhee as the 2018 recipient of the Cash, Sweat & Tears Award as North America’s outstanding volunteer fundraiser.

In addition to his fundraising work, McPhee also coordinates efforts to have paramedics and law enforcement officials donate their time and ambulances to ensure the safety of participants in the event — and shares his time and expertise to help organize other teams that participate in the ride.

“We wish we could clone Chris McPhee,” says Steve Merker, vice president of business development for the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. “Good team captains are vital to the success of peer-to-peer programs like ours. But exemplary team captains are few and far between — and Chris is truly an exemplary team captain.”

The Cash Sweat & Tears award honours an extraordinary volunteer who has gone above and beyond to conduct peer-to-peer fundraising for charity. McPhee received the award during a ceremony tonight in Miami at the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum conference.

In peer-to-peer fundraising, a nonprofit’s supporters reach out to their friends, family and colleagues for donations often in connection with an activity such as a walk or ride. Collectively, these campaigns raise billions for nonprofits across North America.

The Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer is Canada’s largest peer-to-peer fundraising program, raising more than $39.4 million in 2017, according to Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Canada’s survey of Canada’s 30 largest campaigns.

And McPhee has been a driving force in its success.

McPhee began participating in the ride in 2009 in honour of his mother and mother-in-law, both of whom had died following battles with cancer. In 2010, he joined the Paramedics for a Cure team — and was asked to take over as team captain four years later.

Since then, he has worked to build the size and impact of Paramedics for a Cure — growing it from 10 riders who raised more than $25,000 to a group that counted more than 50 riders who raised $130,000 in 2017. All told, the team has raised nearly $700,000 for Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation during the past seven years alone.

“It’s humbling and rewarding when you look back and know that this has made a difference,” says McPhee, who has been an avid cyclist since he was a teenager and is passionate about working to find a cure for cancer.

McPhee says he is constantly energized by the experience — and that he works to instill passion in others who care about finding a cure.

“You experience an overwhelming feeling of emotion when you cross the finish line each year. For me, it was images of all of the people I’ve lost and people I’ve encountered in my job as a paramedic,” he said. “I want others to experience that same feeling of crossing the finish line. That’s one of the huge motivating factors I have for bringing all of these people together.”

Merker says McPhee has become an ambassador for the cause — and has inspired countless supporters to not only take part in the ride, but to raise money.

“He’s not just passionate. He has this gift of being able to inspire others,” Merker says. “He has an amazing ability to create energy and get people excited. When he invites you to get involved, you can’t say no.”

These qualities are what ultimately set McPhee apart from a field of other outstanding volunteers from the United States and Canada who were nominated for the award, said David Hessekiel, president and founder of the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum.

“Team captains are vital to the success of peer-to-peer fundraising programs — and Chris is really the ultimate team captain,” Hessekiel said. “Not only is he active in riding and raising money, his infectious spirit pushes countless others to get on a bike and support the fight against cancer. He’s an amazing example of what peer-to-peer fundraising is all about.”

In addition to the Cash, Sweat & Tears Award trophy, McPhee gets a $1,000 check from award sponsor Blackbaud.