Within hours of hitting ‘send’ on an email seeking donations for the Comox Valley Hospice Society, Jane Sterk received a surprising response.
Sterk is the executive director of the organization and says an email campaign was recently sent to those on an email list seeking donations to fill a fundraising shortage created by the pandemic. The email, she explains, was “cheeky and mysterious” and designed to emulate a personal ad.
“We thought it would be fun, and hoped that people would be curious and open it, but we were wondering if some might take offence. But we were rewarded.”
Shortly after the email was sent, Sterk received a call from Garry Fizzell, who offered a $25,000 donation to the CVHS.
“I was surprised,” says Sterk. “He told us the reason he was donating was due to one of his elders spent time in hospice in Victoria and he was very impressed by the service. His mother-in-law recently had a fall and they are moving her to the Valley, and in time, they anticipate they may need hospice.”
She adds the generous donation will be used to cover their fundraising gap; in the spring, their annual Ultimate 50/50 fundraiser was cancelled, and their Cycle of Life tour (a 200km bike ride to support hospice care) was downsized due to the pandemic and raised about half of the regular donations for the event.
CVHS is continuing with its plan of hosting its sixth annual Phantom Ball – a home-based New Year’s Eve celebration. Sterk explains the idea behind the event it “to celebrate how you would like at home, and people can donate what they would normally spend going to a gala on New Year’s Eve.”
Prizes are gathered from local businesses to form a package that includes sportfishing and whale-watching trips, chocolate and bubbly. Anyone who donates gets their name entered into a draw, with the winner chosen on New Year’s Eve and the package delivered later to their home. There will be additional weekly prizes throughout the month of December through the CVHS Facebook page.
The fundraising goal is $60,000, and Sterk says Fizzell’s contribution goes a long way in reaching that goal.
CVHS has transitioned to hosting a variety of services from virtual to in-person. Many services such as counselling have been done either over the phone or online, but with COVID-19 protocols in place, more volunteers and service providers have been able to re-engage in person.
For more information, to donate or provide a prize for the Phantom Ball, visit comoxhospice.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.