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Executives on Auction for charity

byline:  Vito Pelieci
location:  Business Section, Page 2, top
source:  The Ottawa Citizen
date:  Friday, May 4, 2001

An Ottawa charity is auctioning off the leisure time of the technology elite to the hishest bidder.

Executives on Auction raises money to help people with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Kevin Francis, chief executive of Jetform and one of the available executives, said yesterday that he became involved after finding out his sister suffered from fibromyalgia.

"It was a way to help," he said, "My sister has lived with this for a long priod of time."

Mr. Francis said fibromyalgia is a complex disease which has caused debate among doctors. Some think it's mere fatigue, others are convinced it's a specific medical condition.

But the charity says that it causes more than 1 million Canadians to feel constantly tired, suffer pain in their joints, (affects their immune systems), and in more severe cases, affects the ability to concentrate.

"I've met quite a few people who have this, and I don''t know how I would survive if it were me," said John Ernst, executive director of Executives on Auction.

"There may be as many as 30,000 people here in the Ottawa area who have it."

Getting ready for its third season which opens today, Mr. Ernst said there are 25 technology executives now up for bids at the auction's Web site at executivesonauction.com

"Each (golf) game between an executive and bidder is played at their mutual convenience," said Mr. Ernst. "It's quite an offer."

He said the auction can arrange for the executive to take in a show at the National Arts Centre, (play golf), or even suit up for a day of white water kayaking.

The Executives on Auction charity site has raised more than $30,000 (for the charity), and hopes to raise alot more.'

Mr. Ernst said the (charity's overall) goal is now $1.2 million "within our first two years."

That sometimes seems to be very far away, and yet given the size of the problem it is not alot of money."