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Red Carpet: Sudburians dig deep to support Maison McCulloch Hospice (photos)

Annual fundraiser supports palliative care services in Greater Sudbury

Supporting palliative care services in the Nickel City was the name of the game Nov. 7 as hundreds of Sudburians turned out to support Maison McCulloch Hospice at the palliative care facility’s annual fundraising gala.

While the fundraiser is an annual event, regularly raising tens of thousands of dollars to keep the hospice operation, the 2019 edition was special in a different way: it honoured the passing of two major supporters of Maison McCulloch’s mission that everyone has the right to die with dignity.

The evening was dedicated to the memory of Lily Fielding, the Sudbury philanthropist who passed away Sept. 8 at the age of 103. Through the Fielding Foundation, Lily Fielding supported dozens of causes in Greater Sudbury, one of which was the hospice.

In 2018, Fielding made a major $150,000 donation toward the Stand By Me capital campaign that is supporting the hospice expansion process. Three of Fielding’s great grandchildren were on hand at Thursday’s event, speaking of Fielding’s unwavering support for hospice care.

In Fielding’s honour, everyone who attended the gala received a potted African violet. The flower was her favourite.

The evening was also dedicated to the memory of Cathie Dagostino, a long-time hospice volunteer who passed away from cancer on Jan. 27. Bev Brisco, who leads the team of volunteers that put the yearly gala together, a team Dagostino was a part of, spoke movingly of her friend’s commitment to the hospice, continuing her volunteer work for the 2018 gala only months before her passing.

No fundraising total for the event has been revealed yet. 

The 16,000-square-foot expansion of the hospice is expected to be completed in the coming months. The $8.4-million project has been supported by the City of Greater Sudbury committing ($750,000 over five years), the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund ($2 million), and the Ministry of Health’s hospice capital program ($2 million).

The rest of the funds for the project and new equipment are being raised through the Stand By Me Capital Campaign, launched in February 2017.

When it's done, the hospice will have grown from 10,000 square feet to 26,000 square feet. The expansion will include three additional end-of-life beds, six short-stay palliative symptom management beds, one multi-use pediatric-transition-education suite, as well as additional space for existing and future programs and services.

Capital Construction from Sudbury has been awarded the contract and construction. The expansion was designed by Sudbury architect Amber Salach of Yellowega Belanger Salach.