On Sunday May 6th, the sun was shining and the smiles were contagious as around 2000 participants left the parking lot on the Hike for Hospice 2018. Two hours later the final tally was $327,813 in donations raised for Brant’s only Hospice.
MPP Dave Levac and Mayor Friel led the walkers
Olga Consorti, Executive Director of the Foundation hosted the event and welcomed the walkers and dignitaries to the 14th annual event and reminded folks that the first walk in 2004 had been thrilled to announce that initial fundraising effort as $25,000.
Executive Director of the St Joseph Foundation, Olga Consorti
The community has responded to the dignity and care offered at no cost to their friends and family over this time by standing together and magnifying that gift by a multiple of 10 over each of the past two years.
Dignitaries on stage during MPP speech
For M.P.P. Dave Levac, it also marked his final act as our provincial legislator. He barely managed to hold his tears back as remembered friends and family he had visited at the Hospice and treasured his relationship and support for the staff and foundation.
Dave Levac, Speaker of the House, MPP Brant
As well, Josie Mannen, retired Executive Assistant to mayors over the development of the Hospice, her husband Rick, our Brant Marathon Man had a new involvement over the past few weeks which brought positive promotion of the facility. The Mannens were designated to be the local hosts for a film crew shooting a movie ‘The Cuban’ in the Stedman building. When I spoke to the four producers of the production, they were struck with the kindness and collaboration from Brant and Brantford because the storyline of the film so closely paralleled the purpose of the hospice. Even the Stedman family philanthropy seemed a great fit for the film. Director/Producer Sergio Navarretta spoke of his feelings of responsibility to give back to the community and a personal connection to the hospice mandate. Producer/Actress Ana Golja suggested her role as the female lead so closely reflected her own life experiences and were enhanced in this location. Alessandra Piccione, Producer/Writer sees her story expressed poignantly in our hospice. Producer Taras Koltun remembers his own family and the dedication he brings to this feature to celebrate the hospice.
Left to Right: Rick and Josie Mannen, Alessandra Piccione, Sergio Navarretta, Ana Golja and Taras Koltun (in back)
From our community, the largest fund raiser was Lynne Garn who collected $7051 from her sponsors and was shocked to walk away with her own recognition in a $3000 travel voucher donated by Marlin Travel and Transit.
Lynne Garn and Cheryl Moore, Executive Director of Hospice
She told me, ‘…did it the old-fashioned way…door to door, one person at a time’. The second highest fundraiser was David Prinuz at $3875 and he received a $1000 travel voucher from Via Rail. The Top Youth donor, a teenager named Danika Miller, raised $4245 and received a $250 apple gift card donated from Brant Mechanical.
Volunteer Judy Merrill peeking around door during tour of Hospice
I spoke to one of the over 1000 volunteers that each give four hours a week to make, in many cases, a stranger feel love and compassion in their last few days. Judy Merrill herself had been diagnosed with cancer and had a kidney removed over a decade ago. She found the opportunity to give back for all the care she received in Brant through her time with the Hospice. Her words were profound after losing her own son.
Those who came to support the Hike for Hospice equally felt the positive love emanating from the event and did more than raise close to a third of a million of dollars; they raised awareness of an incredible asset 4BRANT.