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Matching donation meant to brighten spirits at dementia care centre in Nanaimo

Eden Gardens launches December campaign
Hélène Sullivan watches her husband Pat throw a switch to light up a banner to officially jump start a Brighten Our Spirits light-up challenge, a fundraiser sparked by an offer of up to $10,000 in matching donation from the Sullivans to support therapy programs for residents at Eden Gardens. The campaign runs until Dec. 31. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

An offer to match up to $10,000 in donations to Eden Gardens has sparked a ‘Brighten Our Spirits’ campaign at the dementia care centre in Nanaimo.

On Friday, Dec. 11, Hélène and Pat Sullivan flipped a breaker switch at the Northfield Road facility to mark the start of a three-week challenge to raise money for non-profit Eden Gardens.

The Sullivan family has offered to match every donation to the care centre until Dec. 31, up to $10,000.

Pat said the motivation for the donation came from his mother who had dementia and was in long-term care.

“For the last number of years that she was in the home, she didn’t know who her three kids were. It was a sad thing and I thought often about here, how difficult it is, [even] with the higher level of care that they get at Eden, how difficult it would be for the staff and for the residents,” he said. “That’s really what’s the motivation.”

Hélène said starting the campaign was something she could feel good about.

“I’m all for it to try to brighten their lives,” said Hélène. “We were able to do it this year, so let’s do it.”

Erin Beaudoin, Eden Gardens executive director, said donations allow the facility to run its horticulture, music and art therapies programs and care for the six cats that live there full-time and are therapeutic for the residents. She said the matching donation is amazing.

“We’re hoping this snowballs. It’s been a hard year and long-term care has really been impacted,” Beaudoin said. “Our elders have been impacted and one of the things we can continue offering is our therapies … Those are above and beyond what our public health system does, so this is a game-changer. It makes a huge impact in our organization.”

Eden Gardens is home to 130 residents who are living with dementia and is funded by Island Health. Eden Gardens supplements the health-care funding with donations to enhance the quality of life for residents, according to a press release.

For more information about Eden Gardens and how to donate, visit

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Chris Bush

About the Author: Chris Bush

As a photographer/reporter with the Nanaimo News Bulletin since 1998.
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