Chris McPhee receives top volunteer award for raising more than $700,000 for The Princess Margaret

(Chris McPhee receives his award from Ramona Oss, Associate Vice President, Business Development/ Ride to Conquer Cancer with The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation)

Toronto’s Chris McPhee has been honoured as North America’s Top Volunteer Fundraiser for helping to raise more than $700,000 for the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer benefiting The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.

The 42-year-old paramedic received the 2018 Cash, Sweat & Tears Award from the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum at the organization’s annual conference Thursday night in Miami, Fla.

Through the Ride, McPhee has personally raised $30,000 for The Princess Margaret. But as ‘the ultimate team captain,’ leading the Paramedics for the Cure ride team, he has helped raise nearly $700,000 for the cause.

McPhee also helps coordinate paramedics and law enforcement officials to donate their time and ambulances for the day of the event and offers his help to other teams participating in the ride. 

“We wish we could clone Chris McPhee,” says Steve Merker, Vice President of Business Development at 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.”

McPhee did his first ride in 2009 in honour of his mother and mother-in-law, who both died of cancer. A year later he became part of the Paramedics for a Cure team and took over as captain four years later. 

He has been able to grow the team from 10 riders, who raised more than $32,000, to one with 50 riders, who raised more than $164,000, in 2017. The team has raised more than $700,000 in total over the past seven years. 

“It’s humbling and rewarding when you look back and know that this has made a difference,” says McPhee.

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.

“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,” says McPhee. 

“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.”

His ability to inspire others and get people excited is what set him apart from the other nominees, says 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.”

McPhee also received a $1,000 cheque from award sponsor Blackbaud.