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St. Joseph’s Foundation launches Tree of Lights campaign

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On Sunday evening St. Joseph’s Foundation of Elliot Lake’s hosted its annual lighting of the Tree of Lights outside of the hospital. The Tree of Lights campaign supports St. Joseph’s General Hospital, St. Joseph’s Manor and the Oaks Centre.

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The master of ceremonies for the event was Elliot Lake resident Jim Graham.

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Ann Foy and Cory Vermeet-Cuthbert, representatives of the former Holy Trinity United Church in Elliot Lake, presented Deborah Dubois, St. Joseph’s Foundation’s board chair, with a donation of $11,676 for the hospital’s oncology project. The money comes from what was left from the sale of the church to the city, as well as from yard sales.

Dubois expressed her thanks for the donation.

Dubois also presented Margaret Fry, this month’s winner of the foundation’s 50/50 draw, with her prize of $2,215. All the funds raised thought the 50/50 draws go to the hospital’s oncology department’s expansion.

Jeremey Stevenson, hospital CEO, said “Every bulb on the Tree of Lights is symbolic to us, people that put a light in our world. We know who brings the true light in our life; but there are some people in our lives that have put the light and life in our world, and we miss them. These are people that have passed on, and it’s beautiful to take a moment this evening to think of each bulb and who they are.”

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This year’s lighting of the St. Joseph’s Foundation’s Tree of Lights is dedicated to Leslie Aube and George Farkouh, who passed away this year. They were both long-time residents of Elliot Lake and both did much to benefit the community they loved.

Leslie Aube was the vice-chair on the St. Joseph’s Foundation Board, a life member of St. Joseph’s Hospital Auxiliary and sat on the St. Joseph’s General Hospital Board for 12 years, finishing her term as the chair.

George Farkouh was elected as a municipal councillor in 1986 and then served as mayor of Elliot Lake from 1986 to 2006. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge and served on numerous boards, including St. Joseph’s General Hospital.

The lighting of the Tree of Lights was by Roland Aube, spouse of Leslie, and Tanya Farkouh, one of George Farkouh’s four children.

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While Sister Diane, of the Sisters of St. Joseph, was unable to attend the lighting she asked Cleta Sarich to lead the group in The Lord’s Prayer.

At the event, the Jewels and Gents lead those who attended the lighting in singing Christmas carols including ‘Gloria, Angels We Have Heard on High’, ‘Silent Night’ and ‘Joy to the World’.

This year, the St. Joseph’s Foundation is raising funds to assist in the expansion of the hospital’s oncology department’s renovations. The work will begin in the spring of 2024 and completed within six months. Upon completion, fewer patients in Elliot Lake will have to travel to Sudbury or Sault Ste. Marie for chemotherapy.

This is a $1.4-million project and St. Joseph’s Foundation has committed to raising $700,000. The goal for the Tree of Lights campaign is to raise $25,000.

St. Joseph’s Foundation launches Tree of Lights campaign
Photo by KEVIN McSHEFFREYThe Jewel and Gents sang several Christmas carols at the launch of the St. Joseph’s Foundation of Elliot Lake’s Tree of Lights campaign on Sunday evening outside of the hospital.

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