MABOU: The members of “100 Women Who Care Rural Cape Breton” came together last week to offer three local charitable groups the chance to receive a significant helping hand.

The Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital Charitable Foundation ended up the big winner, as the group was presented with over $15,000. Accepting the money on the foundation’s behalf were group representative Brenda MacDonald and palliative care nurse Lori Anne MacDonald.

Photo by Grant McDaniel
Brenda MacDonald (left) and Lori Anne MacDonald were delighted to receive $15,000 for the Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital Charitable Foundation.

“Our foundation basically wants to help Lori Anne and palliative care services by starting a palliative care family room,” Brenda MacDonald said.

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“It will be a room for families of very sick patients receiving palliative care. It’ll be a meeting place, a safe haven, a quiet area to rest and energize before heading back to spend time with their loved ones.

“The room will house a sitting area with a couch and lounging chairs, a kitchen, a television, a bathroom with a shower, and a quiet area where someone can take a quick nap. It will be located upstairs at the Inverness hospital in active care, across from the chapel.”

Basically, the room will give families a place where they can have some peace during an extremely difficult time.

“Sometimes, people need to get away from the hospital but yet they don’t want to be far from their love one,” MacDonald said. “Lori Anne helps so many people. We want to help her do that.”

“The 100 Women Who Care Rural Cape Breton” is a group whose name is slightly deceptive. The group has well over 150 members, and each one put forward $100 for the jackpot.

Photo by Grant McDaniel
The Core Committee Group of “100 Women Who Care Rural Cape Breton” offered some comments last Thursday. Pictured here are (from the left): Mary Janet MacDonald, Josie MacEachern, Gail MacNeil, Janet MacKenzie, Bev MacDonald, and Eleanor Ryan.

Mary Janet MacDonald, who co-chairs the group with Josie MacEachern, explained the women will be meeting once yearly to offer a donation to a registered charity. This year, 24 registered charities were vying for the prize but that number was eventually whittled down.

“Betty Ann MacQuarrie, the Warden of Inverness County, met with us at the courthouse in Port Hood,” said co-chair MacDonald. “We put all 24 names in a fishbowl. They were all the same size, folded twice. Betty Ann was asked to pick three out of the fish bowl.”

Now that the hospital foundation won, that group won’t be eligible to receive the prize for five years. However, all other entries will be in contention for next year’s donation.

In addition to the hospital foundation, two extremely worthy groups were selected to make their pitch last Thursday. They were the L’Arche Cape Breton Society (represented by Spiritual Life Coordinator Mary MacDougall and Bernadette Duffney) and the Richmond County Early Childhood Education Association (with volunteer members Gina Embree and Patricia Burns attending).

Photo by Grant McDaniel
Patricia Burns of the Richmond County Early Childhood Education Association spoke of her group last Thursday.

The representatives from all three groups explained how they could use the donation.

The L’Arche Cape Breton Society would have used the money to help renovate a kitchen in its new gathering place, a new building that will sit next to the Trans-Canada Highway in Orangedale.

“Our new building needs a fully equipped and accessible kitchen,” said MacDougall. “We’re asking tonight for you to help make that possible.”

Photo by Grant McDaniel
Bernadette Duffney (left) and Mary MacDougall of the L’Arche Cape Breton Society attended the “100 Women Who Care Rural Cape Breton” meeting last week.

Burns spoke on behalf of the Richmond County Early Childhood Education Association. Her group offers child care services in two locations, St. Peter’s and Arichat. The group would have used the money to develop recreational services for children of differing abilities or needs.

One Hundred Women Who Care Co-chair Josie MacEachern said she hopes all three groups benefit from exposure, even though money went to only one.

“I want to congratulate Brenda and Lori Anne for such a great presentation, but I also want to thank L’Arche and Richmond County Early Childhood Education Association,” said. “This educates all of us to what needs are out there.”

For anyone who’d like to support any of the three groups, their contact information is as follows: L’Arche Cape Breton (902-756-3162), Richmond County Early Childhood Education Association (902-226-2481), and Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital Charitable Foundation (902-258-2236).