It was smiles all around, despite the rain, as members of the Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC), the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the University Hospitals Foundation (UHKF), and local Tim Hortons restaurant owners gathered safely outdoors to unveil the campaign total from the 2020 Smile Cookie campaign.
In 2019, the Tim Hortons Smile Cookie campaign raised a record-breaking $132,074 for KHSC’s NICU. This year they made the announcement in early September that they again hoped to raise over $100,000.
That cautious optimism was blown out of the water. The total amount raised for the 2020 Smile Cookie Campaign was $150,000. This brings the overall total amount of money raised for the NICU through this program over the past two decades to over one million dollars.
“Your support is inspiring, Kingston,” says Sherri Agnew, Tim Hortons restaurant owner. “This year was a very different campaign than previous years, but our hard-working team members and guests stepped up for an important cause. Thank you so much for your continued support!”
From September 14 to 20, 2020, Kingston Tim Hortons restaurant owners donated the full $1 from every freshly-baked Smile Cookie that was purchased to support Kingston Health Sciences Centre’s (KHSC) Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
“On behalf of UHKF, I want to thank everyone involved in the Smile Cookie campaign – from customers to volunteers to the restaurant owners and team members,” says Sue Creasy, Campaign Chair at UHKF.
“It takes a lot of people to make Smile Cookie week a success, and to keep our community engaged and coming back year after year,” Creasy continued. “Thank you for your contribution!”
Two young ladies, who spent their first months in the NICU were also present at the announcement. Nine year old Brooklyn made a beautiful speech about how thankful she and her family are for the entire NICU team, and for the care and support they received in her early life, which has allowed her to do more now than the doctors ever thought possible due to her premature birth.
“Brooklyn was born 28 weeks prematurely on January 25, 2011. I had to have an emergency caesarian section,” says Michelle Tryon. “The care team had to give her five blood transfusions to keep her alive. Brooklyn also had a brain bleed which meant she might never walk again. She is now 9-years-old and loves running, gymnastics and figure skating! Thank you to nurses and doctors for saving our Miracle Baby’s life!”
Dr. Robert Connolly, Neonatologist and Department Head of Pediatrics at KHSC, was noticeably moved by the announcement.
“Our medical team strives to ensure all babies in our care have the best possible start in life,” he said at the unveiling. “The generosity from Tim Hortons and our community will allow our teams to continue to provide family-centred care for years to come.”
“Kingstonians are incredibly supportive of this campaign,” says Wayne Owens, Board Chair, UHKF. “The secret ingredient to Smile Cookie’s success is, and always has been, the incredible energy and commitment of owners, managers and front line staff who go above and beyond the call of duty to make Kingston one of the best in the nation, on a per capita basis, for Smile Cookie sales.”
All in attendance were wearing masks, except while speaking.
About KHSC’s NICU
The NICU at the Kingston General Hospital (KGH) site is the only high-risk obstetrical centre for southeastern Ontario. Kingston is one of only five communities in the province to offer sophisticated, innovative high-risk neonatal care and is part of a provincial network of specialized neonatal services, with 14, Level 2 and eight Level 3 (higher acuity) beds. The KGH site cares for babies from Kingston and region, as well as from across the province when other NICUs are full. More than 400 newborn babies are admitted to the NICU each year. The average occupancy rate is 108 per cent and the number of admissions is expected to rise over the next decade.
About University Hospitals Kingston Foundation
University Hospitals Kingston Foundation is the charitable foundation supporting Kingston Health Sciences Centre and Providence Care. We inspire generosity for the health of families in our region and beyond. UHKF raises funds for healthcare facilities, programs, equipment, education and research that benefit the 500,000 people living in Kingston, southeastern Ontario, and beyond. To find out more about giving opportunities or to make a donation, call 613-549-5452 or visit uhkf.ca.