Thanks to the generous support of local businesses and members of the community, the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance Foundation (CKHAF) Christmas Wish Tree campaign has already exceeded expectations in its 31st year.
As of Thursday, the Foundation has surpassed its $100,000 campaign goal by over 75%, raising $175,909 in support of Chatham-Kent Health Alliance’s (CKHA) new Urology services.
“We know this past year has been challenging for so many, and I continue to be amazed by the loyalty and generosity of our community,” stated Mary Lou Crowley, CKHAF president and CEO, in a media release.
“Please know that the funds you have donated will make an impact on patients and families across Chatham-Kent. You are truly making a difference in the lives of others this holiday season, and for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
The annual Christmas Wish Tree campaign provides community members a way to celebrate the memory of their loved ones by making a donation in their honour, CKHAF officials say.
For each donation, a light is added to the Christmas Wish Tree in recognition, and their loved one’s name will be published in local newspapers.
The occasion was marked on Wednesday, December 16 at the CKHA Wallaceburg Site with the first of two tree lighting ceremonies, which also included an incredible pre-recorded performance by the Brio Academy Choir.
“The overwhelming support for this year’s campaign shows how deeply our community cares about local health care, and I sincerely thank you for taking part in this special evening,” stated Greg Hetherington, CKHAF board chair, during Wednesday’s tree lighting.
“Keeping a light burning in remembrance of someone special signifies that your memories of them still live on and burn bright.”
The second tree lighting ceremony was held on Thursday, December 17 at the CKHA Chatham Site.
CKHAF officials say as a new element of tradition for the tree lighting ceremonies, the Foundation is also recognizing four members of the Foundation community who have passed on this past year, by placing a purple light on the Christmas Wish Tree in their memory.
These special honourees include Dr. John Button, JoAn Dale, Molly Oliver, and John Thompson.
The success of this year’s campaign can also be attributed to the generosity of several Foundation partners including the campaign’s Presenting Sponsor Karen Ewald at RBC Wealth Management Dominion Securities, long-time supporter Maple City Business Solutions, National Bank Financial JMRD Watson Wealth Management Team, TekSavvy Solutions, and Western Equipment Lighting.
Inspired by the generosity they have received from the local community, two retired local business owners also took it upon themselves to make an incredibly generous donation of their own.
Bob and Robin Hockney, who have lived in Chatham-Kent for 31 years, offered to match every donation received in November up to $25,000.
The couple went even further and donated an additional $25,000 as part of a community challenge for Giving Tuesday.
“Each year the annual Christmas Wish Tree Campaign touches the hearts of our community, as donors honour their friends and loved ones in a very special way,” stated Lori Marshall, CHKA president and CEO, in a media release.
“The overwhelming success of this year’s campaign is a true testament of your commitment to our hospital, and your support helps to ensure that we are able to provide the highest quality health care possible in Chatham-Kent.”
CKHA’s newest Urologist, Dr. Hamid Abdi, also joined the tree lighting ceremony on Wednesday to thank the community for its generous support, with all proceeds from the Christmas Wish Tree campaign supporting CKHA’s Urology services.
“I am extremely grateful that this year’s Christmas Wish Tree campaign is supporting the urology program, through the purchase of two pieces of equipment that will help to enhance the quality of care for patients at both hospital sites, including a new bladder scanner for here in Wallaceburg,” stated Dr. Abdi, in a press release.
“I am really looking forward to providing patients in Chatham-Kent with urology services that are closer to home, with quicker diagnosis and access to more specialized treatment.”
Proceeds from the campaign will also go towards a new Urodynamics Machine for CKHA’s Chatham Site.
The two pieces of equipment are among the remaining items needed to complete the Urology unit.
Everyone is also still encouraged to donate as the Christmas Wish Tree campaign continues through the months of December and January, CKHAF officials say.
Donations can be sent online by visiting ckhaf.ca.