On November 18, 2018, the BluMartini Bar and Grill in downtown Kingston was the scene of the “HEATWAVE Motown Dance Party” and the “something big” co-organizer Val Hamilton had imagined for her 65th birthday. The fun-filled afternoon raised $12,610 that will be shared equally between Kingston Health Sciences Centre’s (KHSC) Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario. The Sunday afternoon event was a big success and featured three bands: HEATWAVE; Old Docs New Tricks; and the She Sings choir.
A grateful loved one of a patient, her husband is a cancer survivor, Val initially wanted to “run and hide” from the milestone birthday. Instead, inspired by a friend in Toronto who’d used his 65th as a way to raise money and give back, Val wanted to do something really spectacular to thank all of the healthcare providers who’d shared their “friendship, skill and knowledge” during one of the most challenging times in her family’s life.
Val joined forces with long-time friend Jo Matyas, whose granddaughter, Athena Cowell, spent her first months in KHSC’s NICU and is also very grateful for the care and expertise her family received. The pair worked tirelessly, along with their husbands and many friends, to plan and organize the event which featured live music from three local bands, non-stop dancing and a silent auction.
“More and more people are organizing these kinds of grassroots celebrations as an expression of gratitude for the outstanding healthcare they receive here in Kingston,” says Karen Humphreys Blake, President and CEO (Acting), “They are good for the community in so many ways: affirming our healthcare providers in their daily work, energizing and rallying the community around healthcare as a cause worth supporting, and raising much-needed funds for facilities, programs and equipment.”