have found a positive connection
between charitable giving and
happiness in 120 of 136 surveyed
countries, rich and poor alike.
Growing evidence shows that
giving affects our physical health. In
a 2010 study, Dunn, Aknin and other
researchers gave $10 to some students
in a large classroom but nothing to
other students. The “haves” could
donate to the “have-nots” if they
The students’ levels of cortisol—
the so-called stress hormone—
were measured before and after
the experiment. The results? The
more money students gave away,
the happier they felt. On the other
Volunteering makes me happy.
I enjoy it or I wouldn’t do it
Every year, the 69 foundations and trusts
partnered with Alberta Health Services raise
$200 million for Albertans’ health care.
“Our foundations and health trusts are
critical partners in our health-care system
and understand their communities’ health-care needs,” says Jennifer Wood, the senior
provincial lead for Alberta Health Services’
Foundation Relations. “Whether fundraising
for equipment, programs, research, education
or infrastructure, these organizations help
enrich community health and wellness and
contribute to our patients’ well-being.”
For example, the Jasper Healthcare
Foundation raised money for a new assisted-living facility, and paid for self-directed
physical therapy programs for older adults in
the Jasper area.
Through its 21st annual Festival of Trees,
the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation
raised more than $1 million to help create
two new surgical suites in the labour and
delivery unit at the Red Deer Regional
Hospital Centre in 2014.
And generous donors to the Alberta
Children’s Hospital Foundation helped the
hospital’s pediatric oncology team launch
a pilot program called Hospital at Home.
Children with cancer can now receive some
of their chemotherapy at home.
To donate, or to learn more about the
community foundations and trusts
working for your health, visit
Communities are giving back to health research
When it comes to health research, small charities make a big difference. Just ask Dr. Shairaz
Baksh, an Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions (AIHS) researcher at the University of Alberta.
(Baksh is also featured in A Brighter Future for Children with Bowel Disease on page 38.)
Funding from the Edmonton-based Hair Massacure helped Baksh do the research he needed
to apply for his current AIHS grant for a project looking at the links between inflammation and
cancer. He’s using his findings to develop more effective treatments for inflammatory bowel
The Hair Massacure, which started in 2002 as the St. Valentine’s Day Hair Massacure, has
raised more than $10 million, much of it for the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation and the
“The nice thing about these charities is that the amount of research dollars we get definitely
helps us develop our projects for applications to provincial and national funding agencies,”
hand, those who kept the money for
themselves felt ashamed; the greater
their sense of shame, the higher their
levels of cortisol.
Over time, high levels of cortisol
can suppress the immune system
and lead to a host of health problems,
from depression and weight gain
to high blood pressure and heart
Several studies have shown that
when older adults give, they sleep
better, hear better and even have a
stronger grip shortly after donating.
Years of this positive behaviour may
pay off, too. A 1999 study of older
volunteers in Marin County, Calif.,
found they were 44 per cent less