The number of clients the local palliative care organization helps, and the services it provides, have grown exponentially in recent years, as has the need for funding those services.
Bonnie Bagnulo, executive director for the Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Palliative Care Service, says many people are unaware of how much the organization has expanded, rebranded, and increased its number of staff and volunteers to keep up with its growing number of clients. Along with that growth comes the need for funds to cover operating costs, including the programs it provides and the equipment it lends out, all free of charge.
Coming up this Sunday is the Healing Cycle, a major fundraiser for the organization. Its Pedal Pushers team has been raising money for palliative care in Niagara-on-the-Lake for 10 years, with cyclers riding in the Healing Cycle Fundraiser for Hospice and Palliative Care services acrossOntario.
“Our small but mighty team has raised the most money for this competitive fundraiser over the past several years,” says Bagnulo. Last year the team raised more than $20,000, and the goal for this year is $25,000.
Thanks to an offer of a matching donation of up to $25,000 from local developer Rainer Hummel, who has witnessed the services provided and wanted to help out, the organization has an opportunity to raise $50,000 for operating costs, says Bagnulo.
“We are fiercely trying to raise donations this year to that level. If it is in your heart to donate to a very important crucial service in your backyard, this is the year.”
The Healing Cycle ride is presented to all Ontario communities and residential hospices in Ontario to collectively come together virtually or in person to compete against each participating organization. There is a first place in raising funds as a team, as well as first place in raising funds individually.
The local Pedal Pushers has taken that first place year after year because of the very generous donations to the service in NOTL, says Bagnulo.
The money raised helps palliative care clients by supporting visiting volunteers for companionship and respite, in-person and virtually; one-on-one bereavement services for loved ones and caregivers; grief walks; equipment lending; transportation, and many other programs.
Raising $50,000 could mean the local service might acquire another professional piece of its organizational puzzle, a part-time bereavement psychosocial position, says Bagnulo.
There is also always a call for much-needed equipment such as special Roho pillows to prevent bed sores, which can cost $400 or more each, wheelchairs, walkers, canes, transfer chairs, bath and shower support, commodes, foam mattresses, sheepskins and more. The upcoming fundraiser could help purchase more equipment, she says.
For more information about the ride visit www.notlpc.com or the Pedal Pushers’ team page at https://thehealingcycle.crowdchange.ca/10653/team/4582
The local Pedal Pushers ride is this Sunday, Sept. 25, beginning at the Pedal Pub office on Mary Street at 9 a.m.