Roundup: IWK fund-raising woes, seeking volunteers for COVID research, govt promises school plan tomorrow

IWK Auxiliary Members at Kermesse 2019.

As of yesterday, July 20, Nova Scotia has one active case of COVID-19, according to the latest provincial update. Nova Scotia has had 60,072 negative test results, 1,067 confirmed cases, and 63 deaths.

IWK Auxiliary loses fund-raising opportunities
The cancellation of the 2020 cruise-ship season has eliminated a key fund-raiser for the IWK Auxiliary, which raises money for the children’s hospital. For 13 years, volunteers have been greeting arriving cruise passengers at the Amos Pewter kiosk at the Pier 22 Cruise Pavilion, raising some $400,000, according to a press release. Compounding the loss is the cancellation of the annual Kermesse event and reduced traffic at the organization’s gift shop.

Despite the lack of cruise visitors, Amos Pewter still aims to help the Auxiliary raises funds through its store, selling a pewter pocket charm (“The Hug”) in support of the IWK Auxiliary.  

“All of our major fundraising projects have been put on hold for the 2020 year due to COVID-19,” says Catherine Davison, chair of the IWK Auxiliary’s Biggs & Littles Gift Shop. “When the cruise ship cancellations were announced, we knew it would mean another hit to our fundraising efforts. This partnership will make a significant difference.”  

Volunteers needed for COVID-19 research
The Colchester Research Group in Truro is looking for volunteers, as it takes part in the international fight against COVID-19. Doctors Linda and Mundo Ferguson lead the group, which has 17 years experience researching diseases like H1N1, influenza, and shingles.

“Clinical trials in medical research are the building blocks to creating new treatments,” says Marika Schenkels, a medical student working with the group. “Every time you pop an Advil for a headache or get your yearly flu shot, you are receiving a therapy that has undergone many clinical trials … By participating in a clinical trial for COVID-19, you would be part of the global effort to create possible treatments for the virus, effectively helping to save lives.” Raissa Tetanish reports for Hub Now.

Sheree Fitch. Photo: Keith Minchin

Sheree Fitch finds joy again
Playful exuberance is a hallmark of Sheree Fitch’s work and her new children’s book Summer Feet, from Nimbus Publishing in Halifax, radiates that on every page. But when the acclaimed author wrote it, she was mourning the death of her son. The book has a happiness that she wasn’t feeling.

“I thought, ‘I’m so sad, I don’t know if I can do these joyful stories again … I have to try to see if I can find that well of joy,'” she recalls. “And I stared at the empty page for a week. One day I just went off and running and the story poured out. It came at a time for me when I needed to feel joy again.” In this new Halifax Magazine story, she talks with me about the story behind the book, moving beyond grief, and connecting with kids.

Back-to-school plan promised for tomorrow
As people await details on how schools will adapt to the pandemic in the fall, education minister Zack Churchill promises to share a plan tomorrow. He says the government wants to have in-person classes but may cut capacity or return to home schooling if there are COVID outbreaks. “We don’t know what September will bring with this virus,” he says.

Churchill and the government have been taking fire from parents and opposition politicians for the delay in announcing plans. “What we saw in the spring isn’t sustainable indefinitely,” says NDP education critic Claudia Chender. “It is unacceptable for the government to continue to leave families in the dark about what scenarios they are considering.” See Jake Boudrot’s story in The Reporter.

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This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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