For the first time, local Shoppers Drug Mart stores are supporting Southlake Regional Health Centre with money raised in the Run for Women.
Southlake Foundation was presented with a cheque for $7,655 from local Shoppers Drug Mart owners on Sept. 10 at the store at Yonge Street and Davis Drive in Newmarket.
This is the first year they have donated to the hospital through the Run for Women, which was held virtually in the month of July to raise money for women's mental health.
“We were really happy that we can actually keep it in our community to help patients that we actually see face to face,” Dragana Gasic, associate owner and pharmacist at the store, said. “It’s always extra satisfaction when you help your own community.”
She said a lot of the customers they see in the pharmacy are coming from the hospital.
Her son, Igor Gasic, who is an associate owner and pharmacist at the location on Davis Drive, agreed.
“I think it’s a good thing because it’s our patient population, it's the people that we see every day and it makes a difference,” he said.
He added that it’s extra special this year being able to donate the funds in the community.
“We live in the community ourselves, too, so it’s our hospital, it’s the hospital we’ve grown up with and it’s always nice to be able to give back close to home so I think that’s the biggest thing for us,” Igor said.
Other local Shoppers store owners Mohammed Zahid and Francis Li also participated in the Run for Women donation to Southlake.
Corinna Jones, community events officer with Southlake Foundation, was on hand for the cheque presentation and thanked the owners for their support.
“Thank you so much for your continued support, your generosity through this, now our first year of receiving the Run for Women money, and the longstanding support from many stores in our location. We can’t do it without you, you’ve shown that you’re by our side and we want to be by yours,” she said.
Jones said the funding will go toward the Newmarket hospital’s mental health unit, which she said blends with the focus on women’s health.
“We’re going to use that money to build better spaces and hopefully you’ll hear that when your customers come in and get the support that they need from you, we’re also helping them there,” she said.
The foundation's vice-president of marketing and community engagement, Julie Fiorini, also underlined the importance of the partnership.
“Our existence is to raise money to fund the urgent priorities of the hospital, so without partners like this, we cannot fulfill our mission. So we are so grateful for the support and we have a lot of work to do,” she said. “We will continue to rely on the support from amazing partners like Shoppers Drug Mart.”