Pictou County United Way executive director Jessica Smith has worked tirelessly to help others in the community for years.
Now, her friends and colleagues hope the community will rally in support, as she faces a battle of her own against cancer.
“Jessica has been the glue among many local agencies in our community,” said Margie Grant-Walsh, one of the organizers. “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.”
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 and gift cards. A giant community card will be on hand for people to sign.
“We want to send Jessica a message that while fighting this beast, Pictou County truly cares,” Grant-Walsh said. “Making a blood donation is a wonderful way to honor her and let her know she is not alone.”
There are 56 spots available at the blood drive and people can register by calling 1-888-236-6283. The goal is that the monetary donations collected will help Smith with the unexpected expenses associated with her illness.
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.”
Smith said she is grateful for the support she has received so far.
“I’m overwhelmed by the love and care that our beautiful county has shown me and my family,” she said.
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 email@example.com. For more information call 902-755-1754.
United Way Board of Directors President Aaron Millen encourages people to support her.
“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.”