July 11

Mary Caton

October 26, 2015 

As the host of a popular cable TV program, John Fairley is always game to help a local charity promote its cause.

Stepping up for the Hospice of Windsor got personal for Fairley in 2007 when his mother, Lois, was diagnosed with cancer.

“It started out as a neighbour to neighbour — we’re just helping a charity in the city — 2007 was like a new beginning once it became personal,” Fairley said Monday at the wrap-up celebration for the 2015 Face to Face campaign that also honoured his significant involvement.

The annual fundraiser, which asks 500 volunteers to ask 10 people to donate $10, easily surpassed its goal by raising more than $70,000.

The campaign has garnered at least $50,000 in each of the previous 12 years prompting organizers to shoot for a target of $65,000 in 2015.

They were at almost $71,000 Monday with yet more donations to tally, making this year’s campaign total one of the highest.

They rolled out a cake at the reception, honouring Fairley’s 15 years as host of the Face to Face interview show on Cogeco TV.

It was during a 2002 segment with Carol Derbyshire, the executive director of The Hospice of Windsor and Essex County, that Fairley held up two $5 bills and urged viewers to pledge that amount in an effort to build what is now Hospice Village.

“Little did I know,” Fairley said of how his own mother ended up staying there for the final three weeks of her life.

“Once it became personal, there was no stopping my participation,” said Fairley, the vice-president of communications and college relations for St. Clair College.

Members of Fairley’s family and several co-workers were on hand to honour his involvement in the Face to Face campaign.

“I think John’s personality is a huge factor in the Face to Face campaign,” said Veronique Mandal, who serves on the Hospice board of directors and co-hosts the campaign’s kickoff show with Fairley. “His humorous, good-natured manner of asking for donations makes it difficult for someone not to support Face to Face.”

Derbyshire recalled how the physicians lined up “to pay tribute to Lois,” when the long-time head nurse at Grace Hospital was at the hospice residence.

She said Fairley’s dad, Harry, was “like the official greeter, welcoming people as they were coming in and chatting with them.

“I remember him saying this is heaven’s door and all the people working here are all angels,” Derbyshire said. “They were very proud of the son they taught to be so compassionate. You epitomize everything they wanted in a son.”

The funds from this year’s Face to Face campaign will go towards operating the Fairley Family Transportation Program which provides more than 6,500 free rides annually for patients and caregivers.

Click here to read the original article on the Windsor Star website

tags: hospice, hospice of windsor and essex county, face to face campaign, john fairley, cogeco