Candlelighters Simcoe

2019 Candlelighters Courageous Cancer Kids team accepting their award


Candlelighters Simcoe Parents of Children with Cancer is a volunteer-driven, not-for-profit organization supported entirely by community donations. Their volunteers provide support for families with children and teens that have been diagnosed with cancer in Simcoe County and surrounding areas.

The Barrie Public Library and Candlelighters Simcoe have been connected through the Barrie Dragon Boat Festival since 2004. A grassroots organization with limited funding, Candlelighters entered their first team in the 2nd annual Barrie Dragon Boat Festival.

As a result of successful fundraising during that first festival, Candlelighters now had an avenue to raise funds and expand their programs. In 2009, only five years later, Candlelighters Simcoe officially became a not-for-profit organization!

The Barrie Dragon Boat Festival has become one of the main fundraisers for Candlelighters, supporting the Art Therapy program for children with cancer and their siblings. It is also a chance for parents, teens, family members and community supporters to come together as a team for a day of fun and relaxation away from the rigours of hospitalizations and treatment.

A few years into the festival, Candlelighters Simcoe joined our breast cancer teams in a ceremony to honour all those who have lost their battle with cancer. This memory moment has become a highlight of the festival as flowers are thrown into the pond at Heritage Park (pink for breast cancer and yellow for childhood cancer).



“We have so many inspirational stories over the years of teens with cancer on treatment, being part of our team. Their bravery and courage inspired us all to do our best and believe that anything is possible. One of our teens who lost his battle to cancer, became a spokesperson for other children with cancer. Prior to his passing he wrote an inspirational message, his life motto ‘If you don’t fight the fights that you may not win, how can you call yourself a champion.’ We cherish those moments in times, shared stories, hope for the future and the lessons we have learned from these young cancer superheroes.”

– Barbara Johnson, Founder of Candlelighters Simcoe


2019 Memory Moment- a very special part of the Barrie Dragon Boat Festival 


The Barrie Public Library has had the pleasure of  connecting the community to many incredible local charities, like Candlelighters Simcoe, through the Barrie Dragon Boat Festival. The festival brings awareness to the needs in our community and highlights the charities that help support them.

During the past two years, fundraising events like the Barrie Dragon Boat Festival have been put on hold, making it difficult to raise the funds necessary to support programming. All the programs offered by Candlelighters Simcoe are free of charge to families so the team is very excited to return to raise funds and awareness of childhood cancer in the 2022 festival!

The Barrie Public Library is honoured to host Candlelighters Simcoe Parents of Children with Cancer for their seventeenth year participating in the Barrie Dragon Boat Festival!