When Katie Hoffman broke her leg skiing last winter, she quickly realized that she wouldn’t be able to participate in the cancer runs and walks that she traditionally takes part in each year. Close friend, and chef, Nettie Cronish, encouraged her to come up with a new way to give back. Along with friends Cara Rosenberg, a registered dietician, and Dr. Nicole English, they created “Nourish Your Life” – an evening with friends, family and the community to talk about healthy eating and to raise money in support of cancer care at North York General Hospital.
North York General was a natural fit for each of the event organizers. Katie is living with metastatic breast cancer and has been treated at North York General for over five and a half years. Nettie’s mother was treated here before passing away earlier this year. Cara completed her dietetic internship at North York General. And, as a physician in the community, Dr. English has many patients who rely on the hospital during their lives.
“Giving back to North York General is really important for me because it’s like my second home,” says Katie. “From the barista at the coffee shop, to staff in the blood lab and in chemotherapy, it’s like family.”
Katie admits that organizing the event was daunting at first. She wasn’t sure how to get started, or if anyone would attend her event. But once she got started, Katie found it was easier than she thought – even utilizing hours spent in chemotherapy to plan the event details. “If it’s important to you, you’ll find the time,” she says. North York General Foundation’s online toolkit also helped walk her through the process.
Nourish Your Life was a success, with 60 guests raising over $12,000 in just one evening. The funds have been directed to help North York General purchase a new breast biopsy table for the BMO Breast Diagnostic Centre.
For Katie, the highlight of the evening was being able to show her gratitude to North York General staff, including her physician and the chemotherapy head nurse, at the event. “It felt good to be able to recognize them for all that they have done,” says Katie. “North York General staff genuinely care -- they don’t treat it as just a job. By having this event and showing my gratitude, I hope that they know how much that means to patients like me.”
Katie’s Event Planning Tips:
- Keep your goals manageable.
“Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Set the bar at some level, but not so high that you’ll throw in the towel. Our goal was $20,000 and in the end, we raised $12,000. Did we meet our goal? No. But that’s $12,000 more than $0!”
- Think outside of the box.
“It felt right for me to host such a personal, intimate event. Think beyond cookie cutter runs and walks. Carve out your own event and make it meaningful to you.”
- Ask for help.
“Once you engage the Foundation office, planning is easier than you think. They have the toolkits and the knowledge to help you.”
- Don’t take it personally.
“Don’t take it personally if people don’t respond, or can’t come. That’s ok, and it doesn’t help anything to be mad or disappointed. Be happy for those who do respond, and are available."
- Just do it.
“There were times when I thought “it’s the middle of summer – no one will come” but we kept on pushing and were delighted and humbled when over 60 people attended! Don’t count yourself out before you try – just do it!”
To learn how your fundraising event can help North York General Go Beyond Care, and to see a list of upcoming events, click here.
Katie Hoffman, left, poses with friend and chef, Nettie Cronish, right.
Nettie Cronish prepares one of her famous dishes at the Nourish Your Life event.
Additional photos from the event can be seen on our Facebook page.