Sydney RibFest to benefit Caleb’s Courage, Cancer Patient Care Fund

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SYDNEY, N.S. — If there’s one thing better than a pile of mouth-watering ribs, it’s the knowledge that chowing down on the tasty, barbequed cuts of meat will help others.

On Monday, organizers of the annual Sydney RibFest announced a new charity of choice to benefit from the incredibly popular food festival that last year attracted more than 35,000 people over its three-day, mid-July run at Open Hearth Park.

After partnering with the Hospice Palliative Care Society of Cape Breton over the past three years, the Rotary Club fundraiser will this year work with the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation, which in turn will direct the event’s charitable proceeds to Caleb’s Courage and the Cancer Patient Care Fund.

That’s great news for the new recipients as the hospice society just received a cheque for more than $209,000, the amount raised for charity over the first three editions of the Sydney Ribfest that was first held in 2015.

Society executive director Aurelle Landry, who was among a crowd of about 70 people that attended the 2018 RibFest launch at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre on Monday, called the financial gift “extraordinary” and acknowledged it was the largest single donation the society has ever received.

“RibFest not only raised a significant amount of money for our society and the patients and families we support, but it also created the opportunity for us to engage and expand the level of understanding of hospice palliative care and the society’s role in our community,” said Landry, who added that the society presently cares for hundreds of patients with life-limiting illnesses.

“Unfortunately, the need is growing, but for those who need it there is comfort and care available — this year we celebrate 10 years since the An Cala (palliative care) unit in the regional hospital opened its doors.”

The event’s new charities of choice — Caleb’s Courage and the Cancer Patient Care Fund – were unveiled by hospital foundation CEO Brad Jacobs, who said both causes were near and dear to the hearts of everyone involved with the foundation.

“After losing their son to neuroblastoma, Caleb’s parents, Mike and Nicole (MacArthur) set out on a mission to build a room at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital that would help support critically ill children and their families and I can say, that without question, one of the most impactful days I have had during my time here was (last) May 17th when I stood with the MacArthurs and watched that room open,” said Jacobs.

“They have created what I call a movement and not a fundraising project and they have raised more than $388,000.”

For their part, the MacAruthers, whose initiative brought the Caleb-inspired superhero room to fruition, said they were thrilled to learn that Caleb’s Courage is now part of RibFest.

“It’s a great event to be a part of,” said Nicole, who, with husband Mike, has four other children, including a set of twins. “We are honoured and overjoyed — we actually go to the event as a family every year, it’s a family-oriented event, and Caleb’s spirit is very much about families and raising money for families by families.”

Added Mike: “The fact that we have lived the journey means we understand the important work people are doing to help patients, particularly children — we’ve tried to take something that was a tragic event for us and make it into something positive, so this event (RibFest) is a perfect example of the community coming together to support others in the community.”

Meanwhile, it was also announced that, for the fourth consecutive year, the event’s “prime ribber” sponsor is Destination Membertou.

“For us, supporting events that reach into every community across Cape Breton and to bring people together for a worthy cause is a pleasure, so yes, we will back this up, yes, we will be the prime ‘ribber’ and yes, we will eat most of the ribs,” said Chief Terry Paul, whose final comment drew a huge collective laugh from the crowd.

This year’s RibFest, featuring food, live music and family fun, will take place July 13-15 and will once again be held in Open Hearth Park.


WHAT: Fourth Annual Sydney RibFest

WHEN: July 13-15, 2018

WHERE: Open Hearth Park, Sydney

WHO: Organized by the Rotary Clubs of the CBRM; presenting sponsor is Destination Membertou

WHY: Food festival to raise funds for Caleb’s Courage and Cancer Patients Care Fund; previous three RibFests raised more than $209,000 for the Hospice Palliative Care Society of Cape Breton

CO-CHAIRS: John Malcom and Everett Reid


-David Jala, Cape Breton Post

Sunflower Treasures 2

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The terrific selection of pre-loved items at great prices created a wonderful weekend of sales for the Hospice Residence project. Hundreds of shoppers stopped by to purchase donor contributions of vintage jewellery, purses and accessories, china, pottery, decor and entertainment items, table linens, fabrics, yarn, quilting and sewing supplies, collectibles, art work, wall hangings, mirrors, books, games, dvds and special interest magazines.
The three day shop, organized for the second time by a group of hard working, good humored, dedicated volunteers involved sorting, cleaning, polishing, organizing, displaying and selling reaped $20,000 in sales! The team of 65 volunteers under the leadership of Cheryl Read and her  dedicated “department managers”, welcomed our shoppers and did their very best to provide a pleasant shopping experience for everyone. On behalf of the Hospice Palliative Care Society Board, great thanks is extended to Cheryl, her team, our wonderful volunteers and all those who made purchases.  We are incredibly grateful for the support and most importantly, all contributions from donors to shoppers will be felt by the patients and families of those in the Palliative Care Service.

Sunflower Treasures 2 – Donations Wanted

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Sunflower Treasures 2 – a pop-up shop in support of Hospice Palliative Care is back and organizers are currently looking for donations.

Here are a few items that found new homes last year!

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Every household has items that hold a place in our heart but no longer have a place in our home. They are pre-loved possessions such as vintage jewelry, purses and accessories, china, pottery, decor and entertaining items, collectibles, artwork, wall hangings, mirrors, fabric, yarn, quilting and sewing supplies, table linens, books, games, DVDs and special interest magazines. We appreciate the thought, but clothing is not accepted.

Your donations will become sales articles for the three-day Sunflower Treasures 2 Pop Up Shop.

Proceeds will support comfort and care items for palliative care patients and their families.

Donation Drop-off Dates

April 20, 21 & 22 | April 27, 28 & 29
12 Noon to 4 PM daily
291 Esplanade, Sydney

For more information, please contact the Hospice Office at 902-564-8584


Happy Holidays

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Another Christmas Holiday season is upon us and as we reflect over the past year, the Board of the Hospice Palliative Care Society of Cape Breton County has so many reasons to be grateful. Grateful for the exceptional Palliative Care team, the doctors, the nurses, all the staff on An Cala and the home consult nurses, who deliver such professional, compassionate care to patients and their families. We are grateful for the energy and the goodwill of the many volunteers who help in so many different ways; grateful for the generosity of our community donors.

2016 has been a year of many successes including the expanding community interest and support in the quest to establish a hospice residence. Events and projects, both established and new, are highlighted in this newsletter and demonstrate the mission and work of the society in hospital and in home. We are grateful to Membertou Band Council and BCA Group for their unique collaborative model that is an exceptional community partnership and driving the hospice residence dream forward to reality.


Every New Year brings new opportunities. The Society is committed to the construction of the hospice residence in 2017. As a board, we will vigorously lobby the Nova Scotia Health Authority and Government for a formal announcement to provide operational costs. We will be launching a fund raising campaign “Strengthening Circles of Care” to meet financial goals that will furnish and equip the hospice residence, create a courtyard garden and establish an endowment fund to address future needs.

On behalf of the Society’s board we wish you and yours a Happy Holiday season and a
New Year of Peace and Happiness.

Patricia Jackson & Nancy Dingwall

Burger Week 2016

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Burger Week 2016 was held from October 29 to November 5 this year, attracting more than 20 participating restaurants, who each generously donated all or a portion of the proceeds of each Burger Week burger sold to the Hospice Palliative Care Society.

“Burger Week is a great event that raises funds for and awareness of the Hospice Society, while at the same time supports small businesses in our community,” says Burger Week Chair, Becky Chisholm. “Burger Week gives people the opportunity to enjoy a delicious meal while supporting a good cause and is de nitely an event that people look forward to each year. I’m happy to say that Burger Week 2016 was a huge success, raising nearly $10,000 in support of Hospice Cape Breton.

A big thank you to all who support this event!”

Spreading the Christmas Spirit

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The Christmas spirit is alive and well on the An Cala Unit at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital. Volunteers Deana Pruski and Margie Kennedy, who volunteer weekly, spent an extra day this week baking additional tasty holiday treats for patients and families so that there would be extra goodies to last throughout the holiday season. Thanks to both of them for sharing their time and talent this holiday season.


Fortress Feast

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Finding an opportunity to connect the past to the present is something Lester Marchand, Visitor Experience Manager at the Fortress of Louisbourg looks for in working with partners, to further enhance visitors’ experience. So in partnership with the Hospice Palliative Care Society, they hosted the first-ever Fortress Feast in September 2015. It was an interpretive and educational experience with a period meal and music, to raise funds for the Society. “Hospice Palliative Care was as important in the 18th century as it is today,” said Marchand. “Perhaps the means were different, but the process was the same.”

The 2nd annual Fortress Feast recently transpired on September 17, 2016. This year, there were 108 attendees that enjoyed the one-of-a-kind occassion in support of the Hospice Palliative Care Society. The Society would like to thank all who attended this memorable evening. A special thanks is also extended to this year’s event partners Parks Canada and the Fortress of Louisbourg Association. This event would not be possible without you!

The Women of Peace and Hope for Hospice

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In 2009 founder Margaret Cusack began working with a small but incredibly dedicated group of women, known as The Women of Peace and Hope for Hospice. That year, the group organized its first Christmas Craft Fair in support of Hospice Palliative Care. They have faithfully continued hosting this special event in addition to holding craft-related fundraisers throughout the year. Their most recent donation of $6,000 brings the total of their generous contributions to $35,000 to support the work of the Hospice Palliative Care Society. The Society is indebted to them for their outstanding commitment to the patients and families of those in need of comfort, care and compassion at end-of-life.

One Step Closer

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Thanks to the exceptional efforts by the Rotary Clubs of CBRM’s Sydney Ribfest 2016, the Hospice Palliative Care Society of Cape Breton was the recipient of $70,000 donated by generous Cape Bretoners who “Gave a Little at the Gate” and the support of the four CBRM Rotary Clubs. Gate proceeds amounted to almost  $47,000 and the balance of $23,000 was contributed by the Rotary Clubs in addition to planning, staging and running Ribfest. This amount exceeds the total of $55,000 raised in 2015 for a combined total of $125,000 to be directed toward the planned Hospice Residence.

Sydney Ribfest 2016 offered and delivered something enjoyable for all ages. The 2016 theme of “more” – more food, more entertainment, and more children’s activities, was met with great enthusiasm by visitors to Open Hearth Park on July 15, 16 and 17. The new venue proved to be a great site allowing for expanded offerings and will be home to next year’s event as well. Ribbers cited Sydney Rotary Ribfest as one of the best east of Montreal and have decided to add a sixth Ribber to next year’s event.

The Society thanks all volunteers from Rotary as well as the more than 60 individuals who also volunteered to work the gate over three days. With community support such as that seen at Ribfest, the Hospice Residence will soon be a reality and not a dream. Thank you all!