Celebrating Twenty Five Years In Windsor-Essex
Story by Karen Tinsley
Photography Courtesy In Honour of the Ones We Love
In every community there are moments that move us and change the course of our lives: the birth of a child, the diagnosis of a life-threatening illness or disability, losing a loved one. These and other life-defining moments happen every day.
When Teresa Silvestri’s dad was going through chemotherapy, she remembers sitting with him in hospital and waiting 5 hours for his blood work. “My heart broke trying to reassure Dad that he had not been forgotten; the hospital was just extremely backed up. I can’t even imagine how awful it must have been for the families with children who were also waiting for hours on end.”
With a dream to raise funds for a cancer patient blood lab, In Honour of the Ones We Love hosted its inaugural gala at the Ciociaro Club in 1997.
Thanks to the gala, that dream became reality.
When someone we care about is struggling with a life-threatening illness or disability, it’s devastating.
In Honour exists to alleviate the stress, worrying and anxiety for patients and families experiencing these challenges.
While our provincial government plays a critical role in hospital funding for equipment and ongoing operating costs, that support simply does not meet the ever-escalating need for state-of-the-art technology and new medical equipment. Because ongoing breakthroughs in science, technology and treatments render medical equipment obsolete so quickly, the need for new machines or to replace aging models is always there. All hospitals, regardless of their operating financial situation, rely on foundations and charities like In Honour to raise funds from their communities to acquire equipment and finance programs and services. All money raised at In Honour fundraising events go solely to these types of expenditures.
“We appreciate each and every fundraising event held in support of our mission to keep patients and families right here at home in Windsor Essex; to ensure that our community has access to state-of-the-art expertise, medical equipment and treatment. In Honour is here to make a positive difference in their healthcare journey,” says founder Anita Imperioli.
Fundraising events make it possible for people to come together and support In Honour. They also make it possible to continue helping those who need it most. Since In Honour receives no government funding, it only increases the importance and necessity of fundraising events.
Although the money raised at events is incredibly valuable, the actual act of holding fundraisers can be just as meaningful. Events bring attention and shine a spotlight for everyone to see—meaning more people become aware of In Honour and its mission, programs and services. When increased awareness happens, increased support can often be the welcome result.
Anita says, “Fundraising events are essential to our ongoing mission. They’re also wonderful for face-to-face interaction with our existing and new supporters. Each event is an opportunity to engage our community, personally thank people for their generosity and also have fun for a great cause!”
In Honour could not change lives without that generosity.
As well as the annual Gala (the 25th anniversary “Isle of Capri” gala, held on February 4), In Honour also raises funds with a varied roster of signature events such as the Annual Golf Classic, Potato Fest, Viva Il Vino Wine Tour and Hallowe’en Family Fun Day (just to name 4 of 10—visit www.inhonour.ca/event for more details).
“In Honour supporters really understand just how vital our work is. They come from all walks of life, but In Honour unites us; we share a common bond. We believe in making a difference in our community,” Anita says.
Celebrating In Honour’s 25th anniversary with this special feature is truly an honour. Improving healthcare in our community is a critical part of making the world a better place. The circumstances may differ, but the dynamic is the same. Personal experience plants the seed for something far greater.
Anita shared just such a story—how her family’s tragedy motivated her to take a stand for those in need of compassionate care. She turned her tragedy into a larger calling to provide access to things that would bring peace of mind during difficult healthcare journeys. She could have simply moved on, pursuing her own goals without much concern for the plight of others. But she did not. She chose to found In Honour of the Ones We Love.
The story of In Honour is a story of hope, a reminder that together, we really can make a difference.
As we celebrate the achievements of In Honour’s first 25 years, we are reminded of the enormous power of the generosity of our community. We are also reminded of how rapidly healthcare can evolve. Over the course of the 20th century, global life expectancy has soared by 30 years. That’s the difference between dying between ages 55 and 85—or, as is increasingly common, between 75 and 105. These changes don’t just happen. They reflect the cumulative impact of new equipment, treatment breakthroughs, improved diagnoses and targeted support services.
“In Honour is full of gratitude for the generosity of our supporters. Our community of hardworking individuals, families, seniors, business leaders and volunteers can stand proud for the responsibility they have undertaken through their generous, ongoing support. Great communities build the best healthcare.” Anita says.
“As we look to the future, we will continue to explore projects and initiatives that will have a lasting impact on the lives of the ones we love.” Anita concludes. “Thanks to our family of supporters, great strides have been made toward the provision of state-of-the-art healthcare in Windsor Essex. They make everything possible. We rely on them to sustain our existing programs and services, as well as create new ones when needs arise. They have been important partners in achieving our past goals. Their compassion, commitment and generosity plays a pivotal role in our ongoing success. By ensuring our ability to invest in lifesaving equipment, treatment and services, we can continue enhancing the range and quality of healthcare services right here at home. Together, we have played a major part in making a lasting contribution to the health and well-being of our community.”