Each year as November approaches the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation team begins to think about which of the many important causes to focus on for Giving Tuesday. This year the choice was simple: Pregnancy Pathways. After putting the call out to the community the response was overwhelming and we want to take this time to say a sincere and emphatic thank you.
Giving Tuesday is an annual day of giving that supports local charities across the country through online awareness and fundraising campaigns. As the counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday when the entire country is consumed with consumerism, Giving Tuesday is the opposing view that people in our community should give back to local organizations to kick off the year end giving season.
In 2006 Marissa Nakoochee was living in Edmonton and struggling to stay afloat. Marissa's mother, her only support system, was struggling with health issues that meant Marissa could not rely on her and she had no one else.
At the young age of 21 Marissa found out she was pregnant. Instead of the joy every mother should experience, Marissa was filled with fear. "I was in between places, had little to no income and I was a single parent before my son was even born." shares Marissa in a soft yet confident manner.
Being a young woman in an unstable living situation, with no reliable income filled Marissa with anxiety about what would happen to her, and what would happen to her baby if she decided to ask for help. When asked what her biggest fear was the answer comes easily; child apprehension.
Marissa's story thankfully has a happy ending. Marissa was able to navigate the system to find the support she needed to ensure that she and her son would make it together, with services scattered throughout the city, the fact that she and others succeed is nothing short of a miracle.
When Marissa was approached by the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation to help raise awareness for the Pregnancy Pathways initiative the answer was a resounding yes! Marissa knew that her voice was the voice that could spread the word about the need there is in the City of Edmonton to support this important initiative.
Today Marissa would like to say thank you.
The unfortunate truth is that Marissa's situation is not unique. Every year in the City of Edmonton more than one hundred women are pregnant or parenting while living with no place to call their home.
Medical staff at the Royal Alexandra Hospital are all too familiar with the women of Edmonton who arrive in labour at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women with no prenatal care to speak of. No prenatal care means women and their babies are at risk. High stress, poor nutrition, and the extreme conditions these women are often living in lead to premature births and babies that are at very high risk of suffering from health and developmental issues.
This pattern was observed by many professionals throughout the city, which lead to the creation of the incredible proof-of-concept project, Pregnancy Pathways.
When the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation was approached about becoming a funder for the Pregnancy Pathways initiative the answer was an absolute yes, and the response from our donors has been no different.
The foundation decided that this important initiative needed more than just a funding commitment; what it needed was a focused effort to raise awareness in the city about this incredible need.
"Giving Tuesday was the perfect opportunity to raise awareness and funds for this incredibly important cause," says Sharlene Rutherford, Vice President, Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation. "We knew that our donors and the city at large would want to offer their voices and their support for Edmonton's most vulnerable population, so we set to work and the results have been simply amazing."
"We knew that our donors and the city at large would want to offer their voices and their support for Edmonton's most vulnerable population, so we set to work and the results have been simply amazing."
Today marks an international day of thanks, Thank You Thursday. This formal day provides a platform for beneficiaries of Giving Tuesday campaigns to say thank you to all who made their campaigns a success. A message that our foundation brings to our generous donors everyday.
Without the support of donors like you none of this would be possible: thank you so very much.
To learn more about Pregnancy Pathways or to show your support please visit our Pregnancy Pathways page.