A recent fundraiser has greatly increased the odds of a Hay River family being reunited for Christmas. With its annual wine festival and art auction on Nov. 9, Hay River’s Rotary Club raised $2,300 to help the Moses family get together for the holidays.
Harvey Moses, who recently turned 20, has been at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton since late July after suffering severe burns in a house fire.
Rotary Club member Kim Wilkins said, under normal circumstances, Hay River artists who donate products for auction receive 50 per cent of the proceeds. This year, however, she approached the club and made a special request.
“I asked if we could make an exception and have all the proceeds go to the Moses family, because we knew they were raising money,” she said.
Elizabeth Mouse, Harvey’s sister, made beaded moccasins for the event which were sold for $300. Four local business owners chipped in $250 each, but, at the end of the auction, something unexpected happened.
“As Marc Miltenberger was leaving, he said he was raising the stakes,” Wilkins said.
“He said he was increasing his donation to $500 and challenged the others to do the same.”
As a result, the other businesspeople there – Greg Rowe, John Hill and Les Ring – followed suit, bringing the grand total to $2,300.
Wilkins had been sending Mouse text messages throughout the evening, updating her on the amount raised.
“I told her it was $1,300 and then all of a sudden, oh my God, it’s $2,300!” Wilkins said.
Mouse said she is grateful for the help and is happy to report her brother is doing much better.
“I thought it was great that they all chipped in so that we can be with my brother for Christmas,” she said. “He is feeling better now. He’s sitting up, talking quietly, his vision is good and he is slowly regaining use of his fingers. The doctors have said they are very pleased with his progress, but he might have to stay there for another seven or eight months.”
The funds will help Mouse, her other two brothers and her sister go to Edmonton to reunite with her brother, her mother and her stepfather, who are currently there. If they can raise enough money to cover hotel costs, they plan on staying until just after Jan. 1.
“It’ll be his first Christmas and New Year’s away from home,” Mouse said of her brother.
She said the family is still accepting donations. They are also looking for a few more beds, a couch and a dresser.
— Myles Dolphin