Downtown Edmonton hospital lights up for annual holiday fundraiser
Published Thursday, November 29, 2012 4:10PM MST
Last Updated Thursday, November 29, 2012 6:36PM MST
Edmonton’s oldest hospital lights up for the holiday season Thursday night – while raising money to support its patients.
The Bright Nights display that used to be set up annually at Hawrelak Park has been moved to the Edmonton General Hospital for the second year in a row, as part of the hospital’s Lights of Hope fundraiser for continuing and palliative care.
The hospital’s oldest resident, 106-year-old Yoke Mah, has the honour of turning on the lights Thursday night to mark the start of this year’s Lights of Hope.
Yoke, known as ‘Mama Yoke’ to hospital staff, has been a resident for five years.
Her son Ken says the family is excited Mama Yoke is being recognized.
“She’s happy. It’s a great day, it’s a happy day,” Ken said.
He thinks the Lights of Hope fundraiser is a great initiative by the Edmonton General, and one that supports a good cause.
“They have a good idea. They call it Lights of Hope and we are always hoping for the best,” Ken said.
The Lights of Hope fundraiser began last year and was modeled after a long-time successful campaign happening at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.
Cort Smith, chairperson for the Caritas Foundation board, said the response the hospital received from the public has been positive.
“The feedback was that it was imaginative. They were glad to see that that program hadn’t died and it was reborn here as the Lights of Hope. There’s enthusiasm,” Smith said.
The hospital will be decorated with thousands of lights for the season.
Last year, Lights of Hope raised $120,000, which went towards purchasing two special bathtubs for residents at the Edmonton General.
“The proceeds this year will go to continue the program of buying these tubs, they’re very expensive but they add certainly to the quality of care to our residents,” Smith said.
“I’m hoping that when we turn on the lights tonight and people drive by and see them, it’s going to motivate in them the giving spirit and we’ll be motivated to contribute to our cause.”
Every $10 donated to the campaign will buy a light bulb that will be added to the glowing building, in the hopes that the brilliant sight will spread holiday cheer while encouraging Edmontonians to support the city’s aging population.
“The hope is best expressed by how the funds that we raise can go to enhance the quality of care for our residents but it’s not just a care thing. It’s about bringing Christmas spirit to them because this is their home,” Smith said.
“It gives us an opportunity to say to the community, a very heartfelt ‘Merry Christmas.’”
With files from Carmen Leibel