Sadie Augustyn, 15, spoke to a crowd of several hundred United Way supporters at the annual campaign kickoff in Kingston, on Friday. Augustyn has volunteered for the organization since she was six years old. When she was 10, she was diagnosed with epilepsy and needed support from one of the United Way’s member organizations.
“We tapped into Epilepsy South Eastern Ontario and it helped me a lot,” Augustyn said. “They provided information for my school and friends so that they’d understand what I’m going through and they helped me with support groups.”
Emma Hollywood, who was in attendance at the campaign kickoff celebration, also shared her story.
She has PTSD, and deals with anxiety and depression.
Hollywood also received help from several United Way agencies and recently landed her first job.
“Like Sadie said, I really enjoyed her speech because she was so right about everything’s switching so fast when you have the right support staff and team around you and that’s why I believe so strongly in the United Way.”
Stories like theirs inspire companies and individuals to donate to the United Way every year and that money that gets funnelled into agencies that help youth, seniors and others.
Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington United Way president Bhavana Varma says those financial donations make a difference in thousands of people lives every year.
” There are 55,000 stories out there and I get to hear a few of them every day. Every dollar makes a difference; every dollar counts.”
The campaign goal is $3,501,000 this year, $50,000 more than last year.
Campaign chair Pat Murphy is confident the community support will be there.
“The focus on our campaign for September, October, November is huge for our community. The awareness and the money that we need and the time and effort that people put into this campaign is unbelievable.”
With record-breaking community support behind the United Way year after year — there will undoubtedly be more success stories like those shared by Emma and Sadie.
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