Rachel’s Kids Garden Party sees largest turnout ever

Image of Shawna O'Neill
By Shawna O'Neill
Rachel’s Kids Garden Party sees largest turnout ever
From left, Dr. Rachel Navaneelan and son Tony Navaneelan describing Rachel's Kids international initiatives (Shawna O'Neill/Seaway News photo).

CORNWALL, Ontario – The 15th annual Rachel’s Kids Garden Party saw one of its largest turnouts ever and the most funds donated at an event since its inception, according to Executive Director Kim Lauzon.

“We couldn’t be any happier. The weather was perfect…the community came out and supported us more than we could have expected.”

Lauzon said that staff will know a grand total in a few days, but through silent auction and live auction item bids alone, funds raised surpassed the totals of previous years. Many items were donated by members of the community and local businesses. Additionally, all food was donated by various local businesses and Dr. Navaneelan made a majority of the desserts.

“Our silent auction was huge; we had around 350 items,” said Lauzon. “The live auction (as well) which had diamonds (for example)…valued at $7,000 or $8,000…I’m still overwhelmed with how much the community supported us. The bids were phenomenal,” said Lauzon.

Lauzon explained that during the auction, community members also bid to buy uniforms for students in Sri Lanka and raised enough funds for 450 uniforms. Additionally, enough bids were made to assist with building a community kitchen in the country, which will come to fruition when Dr. Navaneelan visits next January.

“It always amazes me to see how generous this community is. We are a small community but we have such a powerful impact,” said Lauzon.

This year’s Co-Chair, 10-year-old Oakley Ingram, gave a speech during the event about how Dr. Navaneelan provided him with an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor to help him manage his type one diabetes. The advanced technology has already improved Ingram’s blood sugar, allowing for more freedom with diet and less time devoted to regulating blood sugar levels. Ingram enjoyed a cupcake during the event with ease.

Desjardins donated a cheque worth $5,000 during the event, as well as École secondaire catholique La Citadelle who raised funds in memory of Alaya Riley.

“I want to thank community, thank all of our sponsors and volunteers because this event doesn’t just happen with staff. There is a lot of behind the scenes work…and it’s all made possible from everyone who helps us do it,” said Lauzon.

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