dsc_0095On Monday, October 3rd, as the sun was beginning to set over Wasaga Beach, some very special residents of Waterside Retirement Lodge loaded into a limo to attend an event in Barrie at a local restaurant. The event was a fundraising event to help raise funds for Team Bernie, a local resident of Tiny Township battling stage 4 colon cancer, to fix his deck that is dangerously in disrepair. At the end of the evening it was announced that approximately 80% of the funds required to repair the deck were raised.

The ladies attended the event not only to support the cause, but also to be honoured for their generous, heartfelt work contributions. For the last year, the ladies have been knitting blankets made with love for people receiving treatment for cancer, and may need some extra TLC.  They became involved in this blanket project through one of the Residents who live at Waterside that crochets blankets for premature babies, and she thought that others might like to get together to knit.  When the first blanket was completed, a kind-hearted Barrie resident, Frank Nelson, came on board to deliver the blankets to cancer patients in need of a warm hug when he himself goes in for chemo treatments.

Frank’s facebook page “Paying it Back” is so supportive of the ladies and their blankets that they have become local celebrities on his page and had many fans wanting to meet them and to celebrate their hard work at the fundraiser. The ladies have given out 11 blankets to date.  Of these 11 blankets, Frank has been given 7 to distribute, Bernie received one, one went to a Waterside volunteer’s grandmother receiving treatment, and two others were given to two girls under the age of four who are receiving treatment.  Once the ladies have completed more blankets, Brooke, who has just begun kindergarten, will be delivering the blankets to other children in the community receiving treatment.

Other than a few start-up material costs, the blankets made with love are completely done on donations from the community. The labels that are affixed to each blanket have been created and donated by a local gentleman, and even the ladies’ limo ride was donated by Atrium Executive Limo Services. Recreation Coordinator at Waterside Retirement Lodge, Christie Murchison, kindly donates her time to the cause by sewing blankets at home, but has a difficult time keeping up with the ladies. She now sews alongside the ladies and puts the finishing touches on the final product.

The work of the ladies is nowhere near complete. They are currently putting together blankets to enter into the Elmvale Fall Fair taking place Thanksgiving weekend to hopefully win a monetary prize to put towards more yarn, or to the Resident Fund at the lodge. The work of these residents is truly inspiring, and is a perfect example of the incredible work that can be done when retirement homes and local community members work together.  Keep up the good work!