This year, the Christmas tree at Huntington University will light up in support of long-term housing geared to people living with brain injury.
The March of Dimes Canada Non-Profit Housing Corporation's Moving A-Head capital campaign hopes to raise $726,000 to help build a second supportive home at the Sudbury's Bancroft Drive site. Construction has already begun, and a completion date is expected next fall.
The existing Wade Hampton House has operated at 100 per cent capacity since its opening in 2011. The home is a caring environment where 11 individuals with acquired brain injury can achieve rehabilitation goals in a community setting with support from some 40 staff. Twenty-five people are on a waiting list to live at the second home.
Compared with other parts of the province, Northern Ontario is especially in need of community support for individuals living with brain injury, said Dr. Rayudu Koka, who chairs the Moving A-Head campaign.
“Northern Ontario experiences the highest rate of acquired brain injuries in the province,” Dr. Koka said. “The large majority of brain injury survivors are between 18 and 40 years of age.
“For those this young, living life with dignity comes from living in a homelike environment.”
Nick St. Georges was 19 when he was involved in a roofing accident. As a result of the fall, he sustained life-altering injury. For the past eight years, he has called Wade Hampton House home.
“I'm old -- I'm 29 years old,” St. Georges said. “I lived here since I was 21 years old. I go groceries on Monday; tomorrow, Wednesday, I go straight to the mall.”
St. Georges graciously welcomed a small group tour into his apartment Tuesday. Huntington University president Dr. Kevin McCormick was impressed with St. Georges' extensive DVD collection and thanked him for the invitation.
“What really touches me is when I feel I'm at home when I go somewhere,” McCormick said. “As families grow, we need to expand our home. Huntington is very proud to be supporting the build.”
Huntington supports Move-A-Head through an awareness campaign and gifting the donation that comes of their annual tree lighting campaign. On Tuesday, McCormick announced a festive donation of $2,500 to kick things off.
The Huntington University Christmas tree stands 45 feet tall and is wrapped in more than 4,000 lights. On Monday, Dec. 3, at 5 p.m., it will light up for the first time this season.
All are welcome to attend.
Anyone who would like to include the March of Dimes Canada Non-Profit Housing Corporation Moving-A-Head campaign in their Giving Tuesday supports may do so at marchofdimes.ca.