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'There to lend a hand': Helping Hands organizers Ruby Best and Jackie Adey named 2019 St. Anthony Winterfest Patrons

Ruby Best and Jackie Adey of “Helping Hands” have been named the Winterfest Patrons for 2019.
Ruby Best and Jackie Adey of “Helping Hands” have been named the Winterfest Patrons for 2019. - Stephen Roberts
ST. ANTHONY, N.L. —

The St. Anthony Winterfest has doubled the number of patrons this year and it’s all because of the generous commitment to the hospital shown by two local women.

Ruby Best and Jackie Adey, of the Helping Hands, will be the Winterfest Patrons for the 39th annual Winterfest in St. Anthony from March 14-24.

For the past eight years, the two St. Anthony women have been fundraising for a variety of items to help patients at Charles S. Curtis Memorial Hospital in St. Anthony.

It all started for Best and Adey when chemotherapy patients at the hospital requested a radio to listen to their favourite program.

The two Labrador-Grenfell Health housekeeping employees didn’t have a radio to give away themselves, but they soon set to work raising money for one.

This would end up being their first fundraising endeavor as Helping Hands.

Through a 50/50 draw they were able to raise enough money to supply a radio for every hospital room.

Their next big project was fundraising for wheelchairs, after noticing frequent requests for wheelchairs at the hospital.

It took a couple years but by 2015, after organizing prize bingos, collecting recyclables, hosting dances and arranging ticket sales, they had the $7,200 needed to purchase four stacking, coin-operated wheelchairs.

Since then, Adey and Best have held bingos, wine tastings, Halloween haunted houses, and other events to raise money for televisions on two floors at the hospital, a laptop for staff at the John M. Gray Centre, and portable tables at the John M. Gray among other things.

While Adey still works at the hospital, Best has since retired from her profession; however, they’re keeping the program running.

In fact, with her retirement, Best has a little extra free time now to put towards the effort.

Currently, they are fundraising for a cuddle bed for the hospital. This bed would allow for patients in the palliative care unit to sleep with their loved ones.

It will cost over $10,000 and after two years of fundraising they are over halfway towards their goal.

They really enjoy the service they’ve been able to provide to people.

“You really enjoy helping people, especially when you’re in a place like the hospital and you know it’s not there for the patients,” said Best.

The two are now looking forward to Winterfest. Best hopes they can attend as many events as possible.

stephen.roberts@northernpen.ca

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