THANKS TO the community, Helping Hands raised a whopping $38,341.56 to help those in need of financial assistance to pay for prescriptions and travel to medical treatment this year.
And that more than doubles last year’s amount of money raised: $17,686.76.
Helping Hands, started in 2009 by Ron and Mavis Ramsey, who continue running it, collects cans, bottles and scrap metal to be recycled with the money raised going to help pay medical expenses for those of any age who need help.
It’s a team effort, not just the two of them, they both say.
Everyone who has helped has done more than they may realize.
“They have saved lives. They have made the quality of life of our people much better,” says Ron. “We had one lady call us. Her husband had passed away and she wanted to say thank-you so much for making his last days that much better.”
“We had Dr. Fourie call us one day and he said a young lady was booked for surgery for cancer in Vancouver and three weeks later he found out she had cancelled because she did not have enough money to go to Vancouver. We told him to get her rebooked and we’d have everything ready too for the day she had to leave,” says Ron.
“It’s got to be a pretty scary feeling when you’ve got that damn disease and you don’t know what the hell you can do when you can’t work. Everything falls out of the bottom and you think nobody cares, but a lot of people care.”
And those people include local millionaire Bob Erb, who has given them $15,000 and takes care of any costs for Ron’s truck to keep it running. “Without our truck, we’re done. It’s the only vehicle we have,” says Ron.
Hawkair has never turned anyone away, no one has ever had to wait for a second flight and they can come home from their treatment when they’re ready, says Ron. “Hawkair’s fabulous,” he says, adding publicity from the media helps a great deal too.
Ron says they’ve helped with 15 round trip flights to Vancouver since Helping Hands started.
And winning the Volunteer of the Year Award from the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce during its Business Excellence Awards didn’t hurt any either.
“It started generating more cans and bottles for us that same day,” says Ron.
The Terrace Rod and Gun Club has supported Helping Hands 100 per cent and are extremely generous, says Ron.
Thanks to a house supplied with power and a dumpster plus donations of metals, D and E Electric has helped out a lot too.
“We’d be stuck without it,” says Ron.
The new year will start out with about $15,000 which goes to help seniors who have to pay their deductible for their medicine during the first three months of the year, says Ron.
“In past, some have passed away because they couldn’t afford it. I think there’s success in a certain respect there and we love what we’re doing,” he says.
“It’s a remarkable thing. Something a person can sit back and enjoy at the end of the day and say we did something and helped somebody. Everybody who donates and does their part can be proud,” he said.
He says he knows there are still people out there who need help.
At the beginning of the year, he wanted to beat last year’s amount of money raised but never dreamed this would be the result.
“We really, really did beat it. We’re hoping we can just keep doing better all the time,” he says.
“Maybe one day we’ll be able to stop some of these statistics about our people dying.”
He and Mavis will keep going with Helping Hands as long as they are healthy enough to do it, says Ron.