cassie & friends – our story

Despite being the most common cause of chronic disability in children, affecting 24,000 kids across Canada, Juvenile Arthritis remains relatively unknown and drastically under-resourced. This is our history…


Juvenile arthritis became a part of the Porte family’s life in September of 2006 when their daughter Cassie, then only 20 months old, suddenly wouldn’t walk. After a frightening series of tests, they ultimately received a diagnosis of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.


David Porte (Cassie’s Dad) signed up for the very first Scotiabank Half Marathon & 5km Charity Challenge. He raised over $18,000 after sharing Cassie’s story with colleagues, family and friends. Under a rainy tent that day, the idea of “Cassie and Friends” – a charity just for kids and their families – was born.


We began working to address the devastating lack of support, resources and community facing the pediatric rheumatic disease community. We set up a number of programs to ease the burdens and isolation kids and families face.


With the help of friends, we contributed over $400,000 to complete the Ross Petty Research Chair in Pediatric rheumatology at the University of British Columbia and BC Children’s Hospital – the first such chair in Western Canada – making us the largest funder outside of government. In 2014, we launched Canada’s first-ever Parent-to-Parent Support Program for JIA and other rheumatic diseases at BC Children’s Hospital.


Hired our first Executive Director and raised the largest amount yet ($120,000) right where it all began at the Scotiabank Half Marathon and 5km Charity Challenge.  Run proceeds helped fund a prestigious five-year Scholar Award with the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research to Dr. Kelly Brown of the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute.

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