$5,005,018.00 = Auxilary’s Fund Raising Over 100 Years

On Friday, November 10, the Northumberland Hills Hospital (NHH) Auxiliary celebrated 100 years of hospital service and volunteerism at a special gathering filled with stories and mementos from years past, messages of congratulations from near and far and a proud toast to the future.

Held at the Best Western Plus Cobourg Inn & Convention Centre, the centennial milestone included a ceremonial cheque presentation to NHH for the sum of $5,005,018.00: the cumulative total that the Auxiliary has raised over the past century through donations and a broad range of fundraising efforts including, in most recent decades, two thriving retail operations, Petticoat Lane and The Little Treasure Shop.

Auxiliary volunteers—both past and present—were recognized for their tremendous dedication to NHH and its legacy hospitals and their indelible impact on patients, caregivers, staff and the very culture of NHH as it exists today. Displays and memorabilia—including a traditional candy striper uniform, volunteer tabards, scrapbooks, newspaper articles, and photographs—lined the event space and served as an interactive timeline of the Auxiliary’s last 100 years.

A special message sent from Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary May Simon, the Governor General of Canada, on the occasion of the Auxiliary’s anniversary was among the items on display, reading, “Since the Ladies’ Auxiliary held their inaugural meeting in 1923, the NHH Auxiliary has grown into one of the most active hospital auxiliaries in the province today. Throughout its history, its members have upheld a spirit of community, investing their time, energy and kindness to support patients, their families and hospital staff.”

Serving as Master of Ceremony was long-serving volunteer (and past NHH Auxiliary President) Laura McCracken Ebbrell, who chaired, the Auxiliary’s 100th Anniversary Planning Committee.
“So much has changed since November of 1923, when that small group of women joined forces to launch this very special organization,” said Laura McCracken Ebbrell, who shared stories of her own parents’ volunteering work with the Auxiliary. “We have changed, we have adapted to a changing world and a constantly evolving heath care system. As Auxiliary volunteers, the depth and breadth of our service spans a century. We have endured the test of time. We are here this afternoon to celebrate a century of giving with our hearts, but also to remember all of those who came before us and blazed the trail for us to follow.”

NHH Auxiliary Board Vice President Rick Riley delivered remarks on behalf of the NHH Auxiliary Board’s current President, Selena Forsyth, who was unable to attend the celebrations. “Today we are here to celebrate because in 1923, a group of dedicated women began what, in my estimation, is one of the most amazing hospital auxiliaries anywhere,” said Rick Riley for Selena Forsyth. “Counting back from our very first days in this region, as the Women’s Hospital Auxiliary supporting the work of one of NHH’s predecessors, the Cobourg General Hospital, the Auxiliary has raised millions of dollars, started numerous ventures from Polar Dips to Poinsettia Teas to Spring Fevers to Fashion shows, not to mention giving thousands upon thousands of hours to help in any capacity wherever needed by patients, staff, and visitors, in every department of the Hospital.”

NHH Board Chair Dr. Elizabeth (Beth) Selby shared greetings with the volunteers on behalf of the NHH Board of Directors. Dr. Selby reflected on the successful longevity of the Auxiliary, saying, “100 years of service—by any measure—is a remarkable achievement. This success did not happen by chance, it happened by design—and a lot of dedication and hard work—and this community is stronger for it.”

NHH President and CEO Susan Walsh recognized the Auxiliary’s strength as well. “You are thriving, growing by close to 50 new volunteer applicants alone in the past quarter, recovering slowly and steadily from the pandemic years when, unfortunately, much of your good work had to be paused.”
“You should be very proud of your 100 years of achievement and the very important work you have done and continue to do to enhance the quality and the experience of hospital care in this community,” Walsh added. “At NHH, we pride ourselves on living the core values of quality, respect, teamwork, compassion, and integrity. You really do bring those values to life every day with all the work you do. You really, truly are the heart of our organization.”

On behalf of NHH’s medical staff, Chief of Staff Dr. Mukesh Bhargava spoke about the impact of volunteers and their presence across the hospital, “You are the lighthouse when it comes to the hospital. You are the first faces that people see when they enter our hospital. Thank you for what you do because you do it with style, grace, and majesty.”

NHH Foundation CEO Rhonda Cunningham celebrated the unwavering spirit of the NHH Auxiliary volunteers, stating, “Undoubtedly, there has been significant change with the Auxiliary over ten decades, but the constant is your caring, your commitment, and your dedication. The incredible work that you have accomplished and the impact that you have made collectively is impressive.”

The ceremony concluded with cake, a toast to the future, raffle draws and fellowship.

Interested in exploring adult or student volunteer opportunities with the NHH Auxiliary? There is an opportunity for almost everyone. For details, please visit the Volunteers tab of the hospital website.

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