St. Nicolas Fundraiser


  • BCBC and SickKids

On 2015, the BCBC started a beautiful tradition to celebrate St. Nicolas in Toronto and raise funds for SickKids Foundation.
This is the time of the year when many individuals and corporations bestow their charitable gifts, we are honoured that BCBC members and friends have considered our traditional St Nicolas Fundraiser in their philanthropic plans over the years. 

As a Belgian non profit organisation, we consider it’s our duty to raise the light on the amazing work perform at Sickkids hospital, named as the number 1 Pediatric Hospital in the world by Newsweek in 2021, and help the future generation to go through the those difficult times.


  • Purpose of the Fundraising

Over the last year, most of the money has been directed to help the research to acquire as much knowledges as we could to fight against COVID19 virus. Even if there are still a long road to get rid of the virus, we can be proud of the worked performed by worldwide researchers, and focus our attention back on other important field of research that have been put aside since 2020. That’s why this year, the BCBC decided to help two labs which focus their research on oncology and cardiology.


  • Background of our two Belgian researchers

The BCBC hosts this fundraiser to support Dr. Luc Mertens and Dr. Matthias Dedobbeleer and the great work they do at the Heart Center and Peter Dirks Lab at SickKids. This initiative will contribute to important advances in child health research.

Dr. Luc Mertens was born in Belgium. He studied Linguistics and Literature before starting Medicine. He graduated in Medicine at Leuven University and did his PhD in Physiology and Molecular Biology also at Leuven University. He trained in Pediatric Cardiology in Leuven and at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, USA. He worked as a Pediatric Cardiologist in Leuven for 9 years where he specialized in interventional catheterization and echocardiography. He devoted his research work to development of novel techniques for assessing heart function in children. Dr. Mertens organized multiple international courses, and was editor of one of the leading textbooks on pediatric echocardiography and published more than 350 peer-reviewed papers.

In 2008 he became Director of the Echocardiography Laboratory at SickKids in Toronto. The Labatt Family Heart Center is Canada’s largest Pediatric Heart Centers and performs >90% of all cardiac surgeries on children in Ontario. In total around 600 open heart surgeries and around 450 catheter procedures per year are performed. The outcomes of the Heart Center are excellent with overall mortality rates <2%. The Heart Center also is one of the leading academic programs in the world with excellence in training and research.

The clinical Echocardiography Laboratory is the main diagnostic imaging unit performing around 14,000 echocardiograms in children per year. In addition it performs around 1600 fetal echocardiograms/year with interventional procedures on fetuses prior to birth. Besides delivering excellent clinical services, our group is considered as one of the leading academic echocardiography programs in the world training the next generation of cardiologists coming from different continents and also performing ground-breaking research in pediatric cardiology.

The Cardiovascular Ultrasound Research Laboratory is a unique infrastructure driving innovation and clinical translation. Dr. Mertens’ team develops novel ultrasound techniques together with an engineering team, performs animal research for designing novel therapies and translates these novel technologies in clinical practice by performing clinical research. The group develops novel techniques for studying heart function, blood vessel function, blood flow to the heart muscle and blood flow to the brain. The team publishes around 30-60 publications/year in leading medical journals. Our research is integrated in the mission of SickKids of providing Precision Child Health. All this work is inspired by our goal to improve the outcomes of children with heart disease.

Dr. Matthias Dedobbeleer is a young and dynamic Belgian citizen born in Brussels and who obtained a PhD in Biomedical Sciences in Liege in 2019. After defending his PhD thesis, he moved to Canada to continue his research on brain tumours in the prestigious laboratory of Dr. Peter Dirks at SickKids as a post-doctoral fellow. The Dirks Lab is committed to advancing the fundamental understanding of cancer in order to develop new treatment options for patients with these devastating tumours. Efforts in the lab are currently funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), Stand Up to 2 Cancer and the EIF foundation, Genome Canada, the Ontario Centre for Cancer Research, Cancer Research UK, and the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute.

The role of Dr Matthias Dedobbeleer in the Dirks lab is to elucidate the mechanisms by which the deadliest and most common form of brain tumour, glioblastoma, arises in the brain. His preliminary results seem to show that inflammation increases with age, with a particularly high level at mid-adulthood, which is when the average patient is diagnosed with glioblastoma. We already know that the immune system plays an important role in the development of the tumour. However, we do not yet understand exactly how the immune system might create an environment conducive to glioblastoma growth.


  • Activities organized by the BCBC to support the fundraising

1. Belgian Canadian businesses:

During the whole month of November and until the 6 of December, following Belgium’s motto ‘Strength Through Unity’, the BCBC have teamed up with 4 local Belgian Canadian businesses:

The Belgian Chocolate Shop ~ featuring Barry Callebaut Belgian chocolate

Il était une fois…


Franglish Gourmet 

In these four businesses, different products such as books, games, baguette, waffles and chocolate will be sold and all the benefits will be donate to the fundraising.





2. BCBC – SickKids Online Donation Page

Donate directly here.
Canadian tax receipts will be issued for all online donations (for individuals/businesses who make a monetary donation above $20, and receive nothing in exchange for their donations).










3. St. Nicolas Frites Night Fundraiser Party

On the 6 of December, the closing ceremony will be organised at the Prenub pub (191 College St Toronto, ON M5T 1P9) with different activities, presentations and a special shuffle to win prizes!

Register here.






St. Nicolas over the years…

St. Nicolas Fundraiser Launch in 2021

On the 18 November, a beer tasting ceremony was organized at Dymon Wine Cellar in Etobicoke to officially open the fundraising platform for donations with special guests Dr. Ari Van Assche, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. Professor of International Business and Co-Founder of the International Institute of Economic Diplomacy at HEC Montréal, and H.E. Patrick Van Gheel, Ambassador of Belgium to Canada. During this tasting, our guest will have the opportunity to taste Belgian beers from our two importers and partners PolyBEER and McClelland Premium Imports, as well as some cheese and charcuteries prepared by our food delicacy partner Franglish Gourmet

BCBC Saint Nicolas over the years...

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