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West Island seniors step forward to fundraise for other seniors

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WATCH: For some, retirement means a time to relax and kick back but for a group of seniors in the West Island, it’s a time to give back. Residents of Chartwell in Kirkland and Pointe-Claire put their legs to work to benefit a West Island non-profit. Gloria Henriquez reports. – Jul 9, 2021

For some, retirement means a time to relax and kick back, but for a group of seniors in the West Island, it’s a time to give back.

When residents of Chartwell’s Manoir Kirkland and Le Wellesley Pointe-Claire were presented with the opportunity to participate in a walkathon to raise funds, they jumped at it.

Or rather walked — every day between 15 and 30 minutes for a whole month.

“I’m really excited to tell you the truth. I never thought I’d get to be this famous but if I had to wait to be 93, we’ll that’s O.K.” said 93 year-old June Kennedy.

Rain or shine, they walked outside in the garden or even in the hallway.

“The days I felt tired I’d take my cane, because there’s a lot of cracks in the cement,” said Joyce Harmony while laughing.

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Participants started raising funds by sharing their efforts with their families and community.

“It gave me a captive audience,” joked 75 year-old Margaret Mavor. “I had a ball!”

Read more: West Island charity work is on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic

Organizers chose to give back to NOVA West Island.

They say they noticed that with the COVID-19 crisis, the non-profit wasn’t able to fundraise as usual and they wanted to help in a safe way.

“We felt that an individual walk would be fantastic, it would fit the bill,” said Viviane Meslage, a retirement living consultant at Chartwell Retirement. “When we proposed the walk to them [the seniors] they were so excited to have a purpose, to have something to shoot for.”

Nova is a non-profit that provides health services, including palliative care and bearevement counselling.

“They were big help during a time of death in my family and I don’t know how my family would’ve managed without them,” said Kennedy.

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Seniors party at Pointe-Calumet’s Beachclub – Jul 5, 2017

The organization’s mission inspired 89-year-old Helen Prentice to participate.

“I enjoy walking and I knew there was a purpose for it this time,” Prentice said. “It was the purpose that kept me going every day.”

Their efforts paid off. The seniors raised more than they expected: $11,500.

“This is above and beyond our wildest expectations,” said Marie-France Juneau, NOVA West Island’s executive director.

Read more: ‘She’s one of the most inspiring people I’ve met’: Edmontonian calls it a career after 43 years at Goodwill

As for June and her colleagues, they say they’ll keep lending a hand and their legs to a good cause.

“And I’ll go until I’m dead!” said Kennedy.

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“That’s for sure,” replied Harmony amid laughter.

The money will go towards maintaining the services that they provide to thousands of clients in the West Island.

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