Hospital auxiliary turning 100 in Comox

St. Joseph
St. Joseph's General Hospital board chair Chris Kelsey hands a plaque to St. Joseph's Hospital Auxiliary president Pat Cutt, marking the auxiliary's 100th anniversary.
— image credit: Renee Andor

St. Joseph's General Hospital held an special anniversary tea Friday celebrating 100 years of volunteerism by the hospital auxiliary.

Friday marked the 100th anniversary of the first recorded meeting of St. Joseph's Hospital Auxiliary. Hospital president and CEO Jane Murphy thanked auxiliary members past and present for the time and effort they have donated to the hospital over the years.

"The dedication and the commitment of the auxiliary to our hospital is really quite incredible," Murphy told the packed hospital cafeteria. "The work that the auxiliary does is, in a word, inspiring, truly inspiring to our organization.

"We're very appreciative and very thankful for your time and what you bring in fundraising to the hospital."

The auxiliary has about 120 members, which include women, and these days, men and youth, too. In 2013, it raised more than $250,000 for St. Joseph's. In past 10 years, it has raised more than $1.7 million.

Plans to start up a hospital auxiliary were set in motion only weeks after the hospital first opened its doors in August 1913. By March, 1914 the first recorded meeting was headed by Mrs. W. Fletcher, who was president of the auxiliary from 1914 to 1925.

Auxiliary ladies in the beginning hemmed sheets, mended linens and rolled bandages. They collected produce from local farmers to can and make jam for use at the hospital, and to sell to raise funds for the hospital. They also held teas, raffles, and other events to fundraise for things the hospital needed.

The auxiliary started the candy striper program in 1969, and youth continue to help with all kinds of activities and provide companionship to patients and residents the hospital and The Views.

The auxiliary opened the hospital gift shop in 1980 and the thrift shop in 1987, both of which raise funds for the hospital.

Hospital board chair Chris Kelsey noted some of the numerous ways the auxiliary has helped the hospital through fundraising, such as acquiring new equipment and patient comfort items, and funding programs like music therapy and resident activities.

"Each of you can be seen every day, quietly going about your business, without fanfare, lending a hand wherever necessary," continued Kelsey. "You don't ask for thanks — you are doers — and each of you should be extremely proud of what you have done, both individually and as an organization."

For more information about the auxiliary visit


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