Like so many people right now, COVID-19 has taken a big bite out of the lives of Kelly and Monte Nemeth. But when Kelly got a call from the Trillium Health Partners (THP) Foundation on March 27, it added to the pattern of good fortune that has helped shape their lives. It took some time to accept that the call was real, and that she and her husband has just won over $40,000 as the winners of the inaugural THP Foundation 50/50 Raffle.
Trillium Health Partners (THP) is Ontario’s largest community academic hospital, serving the 2.2 million people of Mississauga, Peel Region and West Toronto, and is now fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds from the raffle will help meet the hospital’s most urgent needs, which right now include items like personal protective equipment for frontline staff.
For Kelly and Monte, March 27 has great significance: 26 years ago on the very same date, they survived the deadliest US tornado of 1994. The winds rolled their 18-wheel truck five times and half a mile down the Alabama highway, leaving them bruised and dazed while many others were less fortunate.
Monte has since moved into heavy construction while Kelly now looks after her 92-year-old father and works as needed for an Oakville ski shop. But with COVID-19, they are both out of work and conscientiously isolating to protect her dad, who lives with them. One of the original firemen in Oakville in the 1940s, her father needs ongoing care after a stroke and the onset of Parkinson’s. And the couple can only connect with their three daughters and six grandchildren remotely for now.
Kelly has always felt the need to give back, to say thanks for the blessings in her life. She has always had a soft spot for hospitals, and supports a number of them by buying their lottery tickets. Friends shared news of the THP Foundation 50/50 Raffle and she was happy to support the hospital, which cared for a grandson with a kidney issue a few years ago.
Now Trillium Health Partners Foundation was on the phone explaining that the call was legitimate, and that the Foundation would courier the cheque immediately. Kelly’s skepticism gave way to tears.
What are they going to do with their portion of the funds? Being out of work there are bills to pay, and they would like to give money to their daughters. Kelly also wants to stay overnight in Niagara Falls with Monte, to take a short break from caregiving, but that will have to wait till things return to normal.
Kelly also has a message for the Trillium Health Partners staff during COVID-19, knowing the 50/50 funds will help them. “I can only imagine how hard it is for you, with your own families to worry about. We would be in so much trouble without your efforts, so bless you all.”
The THP Foundation continues to ask for support to meet the most pressing needs of the hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic.