On July 23, they unveiled Celebrate Your Roots, an initiative that offers Sudburians a unique way to immortalize a major event in their lives, and support care for ailing seniors at the same time. The goal is to sell 116 trees for $500 each, raising $50,000 in support of the SISU campaign. Sixteen trees have already been sold.
The red pine trees, all donated by Vale, will officially be planted in October. Each will be accompanied by a personalized granite plaque, donated by Ellero Monuments in Sudbury.
“It’s a good day for planting a tree,” Norma Rautiainen-Kent said at a press conference announcing Celebrate Your Roots held at Finlandia. She said the trees can be a living tribute to whatever the donor wants to honour.
“This is an opportunity to purchase a tree in someone’s memory,” she said, or they can celebrate someone's accomplishments, personal milestones or family history.
The SISU fundraising campaign began last October, with a two-year goal of raising $3 million to support the construction of 82 affordable assisted living residences and wellness centre at Finlandia Village. Finlandia is located on 41 acres of land in a park-like setting overlooking the north shore of Ramsey Lake.
The Lepokoti Assisted Living Residence and Oliver G. Korpela Wellness Centre is the sixth expansion in Finlandia’s 30-year history and will offer independent apartment living for seniors for less than $600 per month. The facility is slated to open in November.
The units will offer a home to seniors who are still largely able to live on their own, but need help making meals or washing clothes, for example, or who require access to medical tests and other forms of care. The facility will have a doctor on site, so residents won’t have to go far for appointments. The courtyard and 300-person dining hall will have special amenities to ensure residents can enjoy them as independently as possible.
Brian Koivu, chair of Finlandia’s board of governors, said the campaign has just passed the $2.5-million mark. He said construction is on target and the new residences will open on time.
Gerry Lougheed Jr., who is the SISU campaign chair, urged everyone to get involved.
“I want to encourage the entire community to become tree huggers,” he said. “I love trees (and this is) an opportunity to put more beauty in our community.”
Lougheed said he and former Regional Chairman Tom Davies founded the Sudbury Tree Foundation in the 1980s, and he has since been part of several efforts to plant more trees in Sudbury.
As far as the SISU campaign, Lougheed made reference to the hospital bed crisis in Sudbury. There are often as many as 100 people in acute care beds at Health Sciences North because there are no long-term care beds for them. Alternate level of care patients, as they are known, cause major problems at the hospital, because they take up all available beds, causing overcrowding in the emergency department, and even the cancellation of some elective surgeries.
Lougheed said the new residences at Finlandia will provide a long-term solution to the ALC crisis.
“Our campaign is providing alternate, affordable housing for those… patients,” he said.
Eila and Niilo Saari said they bought one of the trees to mark a major milestone in their lives.
“It’s a wonderful way of celebrating our 45 years of marriage,” said Niilo, who was president of Finlandia’s board of governors from 1991-2007, when he handed the reins to Koivu.
He pointed to recent remarks by Ontario Health Hinister Deb Matthews on how Finlandia sets the standard for all assisted-living facilities in Ontario.
“We’re very proud of what we have accomplished here,” he said.
To donate to the Sisu: Assisted Living for Sudbury’s Seniors Capital Campaign, visit www.sisusudbury.com. To buy a tree, contact Rautiainen-Kent at 705-522-0222, or email [email protected]
Posted by Arron Pickard