As the saying goes, “It is better to give than to receive” and this has always been the philosophy of Jessica Smith, Executive Director of the United Way of Pictou County. In her time at the helm, Smith has always been one to encourage community support through her job, but not always in a financial way, more as a community builder.
“Since starting with the United Way almost 10 years ago, Jessica has worked tirelessly as a champion for the vulnerable populations in Pictou County. Her dedication to creating healthy and supportive neighbourhoods, and her passion for community collaboration, has resulted in thousands of improved lives in Pictou County” said Aaron Millen, President, Board of Directors, United Way of Pictou County.
After spending so much time and effort helping others out, it seems Smith is in need of some assistance herself after receiving some bad news this year.
She is now on the receiving end of a community event to be held in her honor as she is faced with a battle of her own. Smith is currently battling cancer and a group of friends and colleagues felt they had to offer support in some way.
Margie Grant-Walsh, one of the organizers says, “Jessica has been the glue among many local agencies in our community. She has always gone above and beyond her role to ensure Pictou County has the resources they need to serve our clients. I felt compelled to do something since she has done so much for Pictou County; besides I consider her a friend.”
As a fitting tribute to the community champion, Pictou County is being called upon to come together to help someone who has helped so many others. One of the ways that those interested can help out includes giving to others.
The Canadian Blood Services will be on hand where a blood donor clinic will be held “In honor of Jessica Smith” April 10, 11, 12 at the Pictou County Wellness Centre. Volunteers will also be accepting well wishes, monetary donations, gift cards and a giant community card will be on hand for people to sign. Grant-Walsh adds, “We want to send Jessica a message that while fighting this beast, Pictou County truly cares. Making a blood donation is a wonderful way to honor her and let her know she is not alone. There are 56 spots available so please call 1-888-236-6283. Jessica will also be faced with numerous unexpected expenses so any contribution will be helpful.”
Another colleague Michelle Ward Executive Director of Kids First says, “Whenever I require immediate community engagement on an issue my first call is always to Jessica. She has an amazing ability to mobilize the right people into action and create environments where people feel supported. It is now our opportunity to respond as a community to care for Jessica when she needs our support the most. Please give blood, send a message of support or provide a monetary donation – any support we can offer sends a strong message to a person who has always been there to help others.”
When asked about the support Smith has been receiving, she was very thankful, saying, “Thank you to everyone for their well wishes and amazing support! I’m overwhelmed by the love and care that our beautiful County has shown me and my family.”
Of course there are more ways to give other than just donating blood, monetary donation are also being sought to help curb some of the costs for Smith and her family.
If people are unable to donate blood but would like to contribute, the group will be accepting monetary donations during the blood donation time, or they can contribute at any Scotiabank quoting account #20453 0360325 or send an email transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org For more information call 902-755-1754.