Next time you walk through our hospital's main lobby, look left to the table where our Foundation volunteers are busy selling wooden roses.
Chances are one of those volunteers is Sheila Levesque – or as her friends and family know her, Nanny.
Nanny began volunteering in 2004 after her husband lost a four-year battle with cancer. A decade later, she now averages about five days of volunteer time each week.
Nanny has helped run a variety of our programs- but she says if she had to choose the one nearest to her heart, it would be MindCare.
A mother of five and a grandmother of eight, she says MindCare's connection to mental health issues among youth hits home.
"A lot of young people just need someone to talk to – someone who's not connected to them and who won't enable them," she said.
"The organizations we help do just that, and one of the key ways they get funding to do their jobs is through MindCare."
Nanny says before getting involved with the Foundation, she didn't realize just how much it did to support local healthcare. For her, it's all about giving back to those who tried to help her husband.
"My husband died here and all eight of my grandkids were born here. This hospital is very special to me," she said. "A friend of mine once said, 'Grief can make you bitter or better' – and I chose better."
Over the past couple of years, she's been involved in lots of direct fund raising efforts- her motto is, "One cookie at a time, one rose at a time, one ticket at a time."
When she was asked to start selling the wooden roses in the hospital lobby, she wasn't sure it would take off. But as it turns out, she's a natural at sales. Since 2012, sales have reached $70,000, including $40,000 in 2013.
"Everyone has something to give back. It gives that day a purpose," she said. "And if we make the lives of our patients and doctors easier, that's what it's all about."