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A Quiet Life with an Olympic-sized Impact

With Mother’s Day approaching, what better way to honour the women in your life than by helping others and supporting a charity close to both your hearts. Cecil Esakin did just that.

Esakin lived a simple life but the impact he made was resounding. 

Born and raised in Grand Forks, BC, he spent his childhood riding his bike, swimming and fishing. His family lived off the land, tending to their large garden and preserving food for the winter. 

His work ethic served him well during his career as a telegraph operator for CN Rail, a job he held until retirement. He was known for his kind, sweet demeanor – a testament to his belief in the dignity of human life and equality among all.

Before his passing in 2021, Esakin left a legacy in memory of his mother, Tania Savelie (Esakin) Lapshinoff. By naming the Canadian Olympic Foundation as the beneficiary of his estate, Esakin made his and his mother’s legacy the largest estate gift the Foundation has ever received

No matter the size, you too have the opportunity to create a lasting impact on athletes across Canada through your estate.

To honour his mother’s special connection to the Olympic Games as an athlete herself, Esakin’s estate has been used to establish the Tania Esakin Fund, providing special recognition to Canadian Olympians. 

Tania was born in Saskatchewan and passed away in 2002, at the age of 94, in British Columbia. She was married to Alec and together they had four children: Helen, Tillie, Cecil and Tim. Cecil wanted to honour her memory in an impactful way, and through his estate, he has made a resounding impact on the lives of Canadian Olympians.

In fulfilling Esakin’s wishes, the first half of the estate funds were divided equally among Canadian medallists from the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. The remainder will be administered to those who win medals at the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games.

“I cannot thank you enough for this. I am unbelievably proud and appreciative. This will make a substantial impact on my financial situation.” said Ben Coakwell, Beijing 2022 bronze medallist in four-man bobsleigh, after hearing that he would be receiving a Tania Esakin Grant.

That sentiment was echoed by Mélodie Daoust who won her third career Olympic medal with a gold in hockey at Beijing 2022 to go with her gold from Sochi 2014 and silver from PyeongChang 2018.

Wow…beautiful surprise! Thank you, thank you, thank you for the financial support. It is greatly appreciated. It has truly taken a huge stress off my shoulders and allowed me to only focus on my training and performance.”

Legacy gifts like Esakin’s are a powerful way for Canadians to give significant support to charities of their choice.

May is Leave a Legacy month, a national public awareness campaign that encourages people to leave a charitable gift through their will or another planned giving method. 

It is easier than you may think.

Sharing one’s estate, which holds a lifetime of assets, enables donors to leave a generous gift to a charity that is near and dear to their heart, and create a legacy that will live on even after they are gone. Through your estate, you can have a profound impact on future generations. 

Thank you, Cecil, for this extremely meaningful act of generosity in legacy. 

To learn more about gifts in your estate or how you could make an impact and leave a legacy through the Canadian Olympic Foundation in your will, click here or contact ( or 1-888-377-7073).