Five Questions: The D.A.D. Project


UPDATE: OttawaStart is giving away a free print from the Emily and Serena’s D.A.D. Project. Contest closes July 11th at 11:59pm. Click here to enter the contest…

A few weeks ago I read about the “D.A.D. Project“, a fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS). D.A.D has a double meaning: it stands for “Drawing A Day”, and it’s a tribute to Emily and Serena Chen’s father, who is battling stage 4 colon cancer. Emily answer our “Five Questions“:

1. What is the “D.A.D. Project”?

Two sisters – Emily & Serena Chen – take turns posting drawings on our blog every weekday (, then sell prints from our online shop; we donate $10 from the sale of each print to the CCS. On Fridays, we feature donations from other artists — all proceeds of which go to the CCS.

2. Where did the idea come from?

One of the toughest things about having a loved one with cancer is the feeling of helplessness. As we are both illustrators, we launched The D.A.D. Project as an effort to give back to an organization that is helping our father, and so many others in his shoes. We wanted to do something creative, positive and productive, in the midst of an unideal situation.

3. What kind of response have you had so far? How much have you raised?

The response has been overwhelming … from supportive words and shared stories to artwork sales and direct donations to our Canadian Cancer Society Team page. So far, we have sold 17 pieces of artwork (including two guest artist pieces) and received $450 in direct donations. We’ve been really touched by people’s encouragement and generosity. (Update: Emily says as of July 5: “we have sold over 40 pieces of artwork and received $550 in direct donations.”)

4. What’s your dad’s reaction to the project?

He’s touched by our efforts and enthusiastic about the project as a whole, and proud that we’re using some of the artistic abilities that he always encouraged us to develop as kids. He’s been brainstorming about how he can contribute as well and hopes to add a feature called “Dining with D.A.D.”, where we’ll be sharing some of his recipes and mad kitchen skills.

5. Can you tell me a bit about your other web sites – href=””> and is my other side project: the design and printing of t-shirts. Having studied Fine Art in university, I hadn’t touched a squeegee or silkscreen in almost a decade by 2007, when I launched m chen wears. Since then, I’ve created two lines of tees; more recently, I’ve dusted off my serger to sew some new items by hand.

When Serena got back in touch with her creative side a couple of years ago, (Serena Chen Illustration) was born. Her focus is on custom illustration/artwork orders which include requests for her “Animalbetize It” name prints for children which playfully combine animals and letters.

There are a bunch of ways you can look at Emily and Serena’s artwork, and make a donation:

Related: Ottawa Art Guide

Glen Gower

Glen is the owner and founder of He lives in Stittsville, one of Ottawa's most exciting suburbs.


1 Response

  1. mchen says:

    Thanks so much for the shout-out, Glen! The support and encouragement we've been getting has been overwhelming. Merci merci, and high fives, all around.

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