Mindemoya Auxiliary celebrates 50 years

Present to celebrate the Mindemoya Hospital Auxiliary’s 50th anniversary are executive members Margaret Cadieux, Joan Beard, Evelyn Cadieux, Judy Mackenzie, Leila Thureson, Mary-Alice Lewis, Annette Murphy and Marilyn Holmes. photo by Betty Bardswich

 MINDEMOYA – The Mindemoya Hospital Auxiliary held its annual spring tea, bazaar and bake table event at the community hall recently. President Judy Mackenzie spoke to those attending the event and began by saying that it was the auxiliary’s 50th anniversary. 

 “Fifty years ago,” she said, “on a Thursday evening on May 1, 1969, a meeting was held for the purpose of organizing a women’s auxiliary for the new Red Cross hospital. An executive was formed and area units were also formed. It was recognized that various needs of the patients and some equipment, were not forthcoming under government grants. And, as the saying goes, the rest is history.”

 Many, many pieces of equipment and supplies were purchased for the hospital over the years. Wheelchairs, beds, curtains, televisions and large contributions to radiology and telemetry were supported by the auxiliary. “We have spent in excess of $1 million,” the president continued.

 Ms. Mackenzie went on to say, “Many, many thanks to all the volunteers over the years. There have been two teas each year and sometimes a bake sale and auction. There have been lots of quilts raffled off over the years and a lot of work has been done.” 

 The Manitoulin Red Cross hospital woman’s auxiliary was formed in 1969. Serving as president was Mary McQuay with Toots McDermid the 1st vice president and Barbara Runnalls in the 2nd vice president position. Rounding out the executive was Jessie Gray as secretary and Julie as treasurer. 

 Memberships were sold for $1 and the ongoing practice of fundraising started with a bake sale in July and a tea and bake sale in December with a draw for a hand-hooked rug. The decision to have a spring and fall tea was made in 1970 and continues to this day. Funds at that time were used to buy a defibrillator and crash cart complete with monitor and a motor for the croup tent.

 By 1979, the auxiliary executive consisted of Blanche Sterling as president, Lorna Dewar as 1st vice president, Zella Spry as 2nd vice, Elsie Caddell as secretary and Liana Beach as treasurer. The years prior had seen the purchases of dishes, stretchy sleepers and a ventilator for the children’s ward, chairs, an air conditioner for the kitchen, a calling system for doctors and nurses and bursaries for Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS) students. As well, donations had been made for the purchase of a heart monitor and, later, an electrocardiograph.

 In 1982, the Manitoulin Red Cross hospital women’s auxiliary was disbanded and the Mindemoya hospital auxiliary formed. 

 The executive for 1989 saw Toots McDermid serve as president, Margaret Cadieux as 1st vice president, Jean Williamson as 2nd vice president, Mary McQuay as secretary, and Hilda Taylor as treasurer. Purchases for the hospital included colour TVs, a glucometer, dictating equipment, a physiotherapy table and a new heart monitor and crash cart. As well, donations were made for renovations to the hospital.

 In the 1990s, Myra Tallman was serving as auxiliary president with Mary Anne Pilon as 1st vice president, Pearle Sutherland as 2nd vice president, Wilda Campbell as secretary and Mary McGauley as treasurer. A donation of $50,000 was made to the building fund and, in 2000, the auxiliary was incorporated to ensure that funds would always be used for the Mindemoya hospital. During this time, bursaries for MSS students were increased, walkers, a treadmill and a trauma stretcher were just some of the items purchased and two donations, each for $67,500 were made towards the cardiac monitoring system. A donation of $16,766 was also made for an ECG cart.

 In 2009, Leila Thureson, a past chair of the North Shore Health Network Auxiliary, was elected president of the auxiliary with Mary Alice Lewis serving as vice president, Myrna Clark as secretary and Joan beard as treasurer. Many donations were made in the ensuing years including $20,000 to the Tree of Life and $100,000 towards the telemetry campaign. Also, a stretcher, three wheelchairs and a freezer for the chemotherapy room were bought. Mary Arnold painted donation boxes, which look like houses, and these were placed at the tills of local businesses. Recently, a donation of $6,000 was made towards the purchase of a Holter monitor and $38,000 went to a hospice room.

 The auxiliary executive in place now sees Judy Mackenzie as president, Carol Gilmore as secretary and Mary Alice Lewis, who has also served as president in the past, as treasurer. The board of directors consists of Evelyn Cardiff, Joan Beard, Leila Thureson, Janice McQuay, Marilyn Holmes, Lois Young, Eva Bond, Anna Orford and Annette Murphy. A successful spring conference was held along with the Little Current auxiliary. 

 Joan Beard has been involved with hospital auxiliaries for 20 years. Eighteen years were spent as treasurer of the Espanola hospital auxiliary and she was also treasurer in Mindemoya and she “loved it.” She enjoys doing the tray favours such as candy, silk carnations, a tie for Father’s Day or a bunny at Easter for patients for special days. 

 Ms. Beard also spoke of the demise of the provincial arm of hospital auxiliaries which began in 1910. The Hospital Auxiliaries Association of Ontario (HAAO) folded due to a lack of interest for board members and a decline in funds from auxiliaries as the number of hospitals has decreased from 125 to 104. 

 The Mindemoya auxiliary event on May 11 continued with the tradition of ticket sales for an outstanding quilt donated by the Happy Quilters, two Adirondack chairs, made and donated by Brian Murphy, and a painting donated by Rochelle Neal. Tickets can be purchased at the Providence Bay and M’Chigeeng markets.