Updated: Apr 16
Bob Shanks was awarded BC's Medal of Good Citizenship for his tireless efforts raising money for Canucks Autism Network
April 14th, 2022
Bob Shanks' passion for helping kids build confidence and achieve their dreams has led him to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Canucks Autism Network (CAN).
We talked to him about his start with CAN, his favourite Canucks, and what it means to be recognized for his work.
First, tell us a bit about yourself Bob: My name's Robbie Cruickshank aka Bob Shanks. I’m 30-years-old and was born and raised in Vancouver. For elementary school I went to Our Lady of Perpetual Health, and in high school I started at Lord Byng but finished at Vancouver College.
I have 5 brothers and 3 sisters, as well as 6 nieces and 3 nephews. I’ve worked at Windsor Plywood for 10 years.
How and when did you become involved with CAN?
Bob: Back on April 21st, 2012, my sister introduced me to the Canucks Autism Network. I went to my first CAN family festival that year and raised $4000. Now jump to 2022, and I’m closing in on half a million raised overall.
What makes you so passionate about what CAN does?
Bob: What drives me is connecting kids to opportunities where they discover they can do things they were told they couldn't, and helping them build their confidence. CAN allows kids to be kids and they support youth as they transition into adulthood.
What drives me is connecting kids to opportunities where they discover they can do things they were told they couldn't
But beyond the programs, what I do helps CAN create more welcoming, accepting, and supportive communities for everyone on the spectrum. Helping CAN build this brighter future is a constant motivator for me.
I take it you're a big Canucks fan?
Bob: Ya I’m a big fan of the Canucks and I’m actually friends with Kirk McLean and Trevor Linden, whom I loved as players. Daniel and Henrik Sedin were my favourite Canucks but they retired so I’d have to go with Bo Horvat at the moment.
Bob with a Sedin twin (can you guess which one?) and at a Canucks game
The last 3 years I’ve taken part in the CAN Pro-Am and Team Bob Shanks has had the great honour of Brendan Morrison being on our team, and let’s be honest he’ll probably be on our team again.
I’ve also had the pleasure of hanging out with Daniel and Henrik Sedin, as well as Kirk McLean at the tournament.
What are the keys to your success?
Bob: I think the keys to my success fundraising for CAN are just being myself and drawing people in with my story and what I’m about.
How did it feel to be awarded the Medal of Good Citizenship? Bob: Being recognized at that level alongside other inspiring recipients was an absolute honour for me. I’m not doing any of this for the recognition but it fills my heart to hear that people think the work I’m doing is amazing and worth recognizing. What are your goals for the future? Bob: My goals for the future are to continue my work with CAN and making the world a better place for those on the autism spectrum.
Anything to add? Bob: Back when I reached a quarter million overall for CAN, they told me that they would name their boardroom after me. On April 20th, the Bob Shanks Boardroom will be unveiled and what an absolute honour it’ll be. I gotta be honest, I’m so happy CAN and I crossed paths when we did. It makes my heart so happy doing what I can for the kids. When I was interviewed by Canucks TV, Trevor Linden was asked about me and my fundraising and this quote from him honestly drives me and what I do: "It’s amazing what you can do with passion."
I want to end with my go-to saying, that what I do is #allforthekids.
Spencer van Vloten is the editor of BC Disability. To get in touch, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!