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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Big Day!

Thursday May 6 was a big day! One reason was a our Second Wind Dreams (SWD) Art Sale and Pyramid Auction Fundraiser. This program has been at the Edmonton General Continuing Care Centre for 5 years and is volunteer run--chiefly by about 8 of us! It is a sad comment on this world that in a facility of 500 residents, so few family members volunteer for our Family Council, the Welcoming Committee, and SWD. In fact it's the same 8 people who do all of this. And when it comes to the Welcoming Committe, it's about 4 of us who take turns every month delivering our welcoming package of a card and either a stuffed teddy bear or puppy.

With SWD we have had varying degrees of support from staff and admin over the years and that can make it difficult to get the wishes from the residents and to fulfill them. Nevertheless in the 5 years of operation we are at wish 105--so I think we have done pretty well! We are so fortunate to have Diane Berge, who was the one who heard about this program from a lady in Calgary and thought we should have it at the EG. Diane has worked in a variety of  jobs over the years and has some amazing contacts, especially in the art field as she ran an art gallery. She's a natural schmoozer, so that helps a lot! I'm not--I leave that to Duffy! lol!

We have had a wide array of dreams over the years--from a trip to the dollar store or a dinner out to a 3-day pass to the Edmonton Indy where the resident was even taken into the pit, tickets to an Edmonton Oilers hockey game, luaus on units, and helping a group of younger residents go to a dinner theatre. In my own case, my mother, who had never been in an airplane in her life, was able to take a plane ride and fly over the farm she grew up on just north of Edmonton. In addition when my parents were going to be celebrating their 60th anniversary last September the SWD team helped me out. As I am alone, it would have been a daunting task to do it all myself, but they decorated the unit, Diane baked a cake and they helped out at the event.

We have become a close-knit group and are good friends. When my mother died in January, I was sent a dozen white roses and they also sent a beautiful wreath for the funeral. Doreen, Kay, Edwin, and Diane attended the funeral and Diane even came out to the cemetary--which is out of town. These ladies and 2 gentleman are some of the best people I have ever met and I feel so honored to know them and work with them.  They have all gone through the loss of loved ones, had put their best efforts into looking after their loved ones, and feel that volunteering at the EG is an important thing to do. And they continue do this even though some of them no longer have loved ones in care. They are an inspiration and I admire, respect, and love them.

Kay, Doreen, and Diane at the ticket selling table. Diane's daughter Therese is in the background in black, and David, one of the EG chaplains is by the table


Diane explaining the pyramid auction.

So our fundraiser--we started planning it last year and I think it went well. We partnered with the Epilepsy Association as both long-term care and epilipsy suffer from being hidden in the shadows and having such a negative connotation. One of the big reasons for our SWD program is to show people that just because someone is in long-term care, it doesn't mean their life is immediately over or that they still don't have dreams to fulfill and that they can't have fun.We learned some things from our first venture with a fundraiser this size--like don't bother with a lunch! Coffee and cookies are enough! I don't think we made as much as we hoped, but we got good exposure, local artists were able to show their work, and as usual we had fun too!
Doreen and Kay

Edwin, who is 90 and still volunteers and Louis, who had a book signing for his The Dragon and the Cross

Edith (standing), Kay, and yours truly who is still suffering from a sinus cold and cough!

2 comments:

onecollie said...

what a wonderful event!! Looks like you are in good hands with all your wonderful friends too!

J. said...

Looks like it went well. Congrats to you all for the hard work!