The Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital Foundation was presented with a generous donation of $25,000 from local lottery winners.
Best friends JoAnn MacQueen and Marlisa Mercer had one mission after winning the $1-million Lotto Max: to give back to the community.
“We had a list,” said MacQueen. “If we had a million, who would we give it to?”
After winning the Lotto Max in June, MacQueen and Mercer had decided together that 20 per cent of the winnings would go to charity.
“[Giving] was always our intention,” Mercer said. “Before we did anything for ourselves, that would come off the top.”
Led by the value of improving life and death, the duo fulfilled their wish list and gave back to the Soldiers’ Foundation, among other local charities. When asked why they chose to give back to Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital, the friends agreed that supporting our healthcare system is important for the community.
“Everybody is going to access it,” said Mercer. “It’s a huge community need, everybody’s going to go there at some point.”
Lisa Stanley, director, finance and operations for the Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital Foundation, was in awe of the selfless gift.
“We’re truly honoured that they thought of the hospital when giving back to the community,” Stanley said. “Donations like these make sure that we can make a difference in areas with the highest needs.”
Donations to Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital can be made to specific areas of the hospital or to areas of highest need, like MacQueen and Mercer’s donation.
The friends chose charities to donate to based on the needs of family members.
“My brother was an alcoholic and died in March,” MacQueen said. “If [he] had lived in Orillia, where would he have accessed?”
Aside from the Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital Foundation, donations were also given to Mariposa House Hospice, The Lighthouse, The Sharing Place Food Centre, OSPCA, Comfie Cat Shelter, The Farley Foundation, The Salvation Army, and The Royal Canadian Legion poppy campaign.
“We’re doing it because we believe in the places we’re giving to,” said Mercer. “This [money] is not ours, it would be easy to hold it close and put it in the bank.”
Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital relies on community donations to give patients the best care possible. New equipment and building improvements are made possible through gifts from compassionate community members.
Donations to the Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital Foundation can be made online, in person, by mail, or over the phone.