WHITBOURNE, NL —An annual memorial card game held in Whitbourne hopes to see another successful year of fundraising for a good cause.
Jean Vokey, an avid card player, passed away on Christmas morning in 2006 from a mild heart attack.
Several years later, her family and friends have been coming together each year to play cards in her memory, while fundraising for the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Lorna Vokey, Jean’s daughter, explained the games have been going on for the past nine years and have raised approximately $8,000 – all of which has been donated to the Heart & Stroke Foundation.
Jean loved to play cards, according to her daughter, and the idea of her family and close friends coming together in her memory to enjoy something she loved felt like the best way to remember Jean.
“We get a good crowd every year, and some of the people that come to play were friends of mom’s before she passed,” said Lorna. “It’s wonderful to see them coming to remember her, and sharing their favourite stories of her.”
Donations to the event come from businesses in Whitbourne and surrounding areas, as well as places such as St. John’s and Conception Bay South. Donations include money, as well as gift certificates and prizes. Every year, players come together for games of 120s, a game Lorna said her mother enjoyed.
“People look forward to the card game, I think, because not only is it for a good cause, but the prizes are all fairly big ones,” said Lorna. “First, second, and third winners all get prizes valued over $100, so that’s pretty exciting for people too.”
Other prizes are given to players who receive the lowest score, or to the player with the most ace of heart cards, leading to an exciting night for those who take part in the game.
Ticket sales add to the final amount of money raised at the end of the night, with tickets being sold for giveaways on varying items, including food prizes for salt fish, hard bread, and other Newfoundland delicacies.
With thousands of dollars raised, Lorna and her family are quite proud of the achievement. She said the Heart & Stroke Foundation has shown great appreciation for what they do, adding she felt the foundation didn’t get as much attention as it deserved.
“The first time I met with (the Heart & Stroke Foundation) they asked me what I thought was the number one killer in women in Canada. Of course, my first response was cancer, but heart disease and strokes are number one. I didn’t know that, and I don’t think many other people realize that either,” explained Lorna.
“Heart & Stroke doesn’t get the kind of limelight that other organizations do. Not to say that the others mean any less, not at all, but you don’t hear as much about Heart & Stroke as you do with others, so I think any donations and fundraising for them is really important.”
Lorna told the Compass she knows her mother would be happy to see her family’s accomplishments, noting the memorial game is a good mixture of her willingness to help anyone and everyone she met in life, as well as her love of cards.
“Mom always put everyone before herself, and anyone who knew her could tell you that,” Lorna said. “I know that if she could see this, see all her friends and family coming together and raising money to help other people, she’d love it. Absolutely.”
Anyone wishing to attend the game is welcome on Friday, Nov. 10 at the Whitbourne Lion’s Club at 7 p.m.