This article was eloquently written by Shannon Matheson, organizer of the Margaret A. Banks Helping Hand Benefaction.
Mrs. Margaret A. Banks (ne: Corneil) was diagnosed with naso-pharyngeal cancer at the age of 32. She put up an arduous and heroic battle over the next fifteen years as her health continued to decline, but sadly succumbed to her illness in 2014. Despite her failing health, and being in the hospital far more often than at home for the last couple of years of her life, Margaret remained, to the very end, one of the most thoughtful, polite, gracious, kind, generous and loving ladies you could ever hope to meet, her inner beauty shining like a beacon of light for her husband, family and friends. She even managed to maintain her spirited sense of humor; not an easy feat when you are facing your own mortality.
After Margaret's passing, and with the approval of her husband, Dr. Brian Banks, DDS., the Margaret A. Banks Helping Hand Benefaction was set up in loving memory by her friend and caregiver Shannon Matheson, to honor Margaret's memory in a meaningful way and to help give back to the hospital which took such good care of her over the years. In October of 2015, shortly before the first anniversary of Margaret's death, the first fundraising efforts were organized with the invaluable support of the staff at the Caritas Foundation.
As well as being a brilliant image/beauty consultant, Margaret was an incredibly gifted artisan and spent years perfecting her crafts. Delicate pieces of embroidery can be seen hanging throughout her husband's home and that of her family and friends, and her beautiful handmade gift cards are treasured by all who received them. Margaret found her craftwork to be a very therapeutic and productive way to spend her time while she convalesced.
Pictured: Shannon Matheson (Event Organizer) and Sasha Greenways (Margaret's Goddaughter).
Margaret wanted to help make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate, and of those who battle depression or ill health. She was an avid supporter of numerous charitable organizations, and it had been her wish to sell her completed work and donate the proceeds to her favourite charities. Moving forward, the intention is to continue annual fundraising efforts on behalf of the Margaret A. Banks Helping Hand Benefaction through various venues.
Considering that most of us have used, or will someday require the services provided by one of our local hospitals, we strongly encourage everyone to be as generous as possible and support their local hospital foundation because every little bit helps them to provide better services to our families and loved ones.
The fundraising process is easy: email the Caritas Foundation to notify them of the intended fundraising event, fill out their short form, confirm the date(s), location and promotional materials, make a couple of phone calls to family and friends to organize volunteers and voila, your community event can be posted onto the Caritas Foundation website. Our event raised nearly $800, with 100% of the proceeds being donated to the Misericordia. Next year is sure to be bigger and better!
A very big thank you is extended to Margaret's husband for donating her handiwork, to her friends and family who donated their time for the four-day event, to all of the people who made generous donations on Margaret's behalf, and to the Caritas Foundation staff for helping us to honor Margaret's memory.