A GoFundMe campaign for long-time Sobeys Antigonish employee Simone MacDonald has raised almost $3,000 after only five days.
That total doesn’t count what is being raised at the Sobeys on Church Street where Simone was such a popular personality, colleagues said customers would sometimes wait in her cashier line, even if it was longer, just for the chance to chit-chat while their groceries were being rung-in and bagged.
Simone suffered a stroke last month and her road to recovery is being evaluated and fundraised for. The page is titled ‘Simone MacDonald’s Stroke Recovery.’
The page notation, created by her daughter Donna July 26, summarized the situation.
“Everyone that shops at Sobeys in Antigonish knows my mother Simone MacDonald,” the passage reads. “She always made everyone’s day.
“My mom has had a massive stroke, instantly going from someone who would walk three hours a day to the unimaginable long road to some sort of recovery. Two weeks ago, specialists thought she would not be with us for very long, but mom is a fighter. When removed from life support, she was able to survive on her own and now, two weeks later, we need to think about support for her recovery. This fundraiser will hopefully help make her recovery the best possible.”
Donna goes into a little more detail about recovery necessities.
“Mom will need medical assistance 24 hours a day. She will need daily physiotherapy and speech therapy. She will need mobility devices yet to be determined and her home will need to be upgraded to allow accessibility that we all take for granted,” she wrote.
“I know mom wants to be able to love and engage her grandkids again, but that will take a lot of time. She is just starting that long road to recovery and anything you can do to help that process is greatly appreciated.”
As part of the fundraising at the store, a barbecue was held July 27.
“And we’re taking donations inside,” Simone’s friend and co-worker Suzanne Melanson said, as folks huddled around the table to not only make their donation and get their hotdog and pop, but also to sign a large piece of Bristol board being folded in-two to create a card for Simone. Definitely, more Bristol board was going to be needed.
“Oh my goodness,” Melanson, who has been working with Simone for 14 years, said, when asked about her friend. “She has such a quick wit and is the friendliest person I ever worked with … all the cashiers, fellow staff and the customers, just love her.
“She is such an amazing person, so generous.”
Donna, in talking to the Casket the previous day (July 26), noted how the stroke was such a shock to the family because Simone was so active.
“She walked two or three hours at night, looked after her grandkids and worked at Sobeys,” Donna said, adding the two weeks since her mom’s stroke had been a “rollercoaster” for the family.
Donna noted that her mom actually started with the local Sobeys before it was even opened.
“Thirty-four years. When they started building Sobeys, she went up and did the training; so she was there even before they opened the doors, actually. She has been an icon there … everyone knows her.”
And those who worked with her remember that boundless energy.
“Somebody even told me that, sometimes, before she would come to work, she would walk around the store before coming in,” Melanson said. “She had a lot of energy; she didn’t stop for two minutes … she was like a little bumblebee.”
Len ‘PD’ MacDonald, well known in the community for his Week 45 columns amongst other activities, has decided to make his walk around the Cabot Trail a fundraiser for Simone. Those wishing to can make pledges towards his walk with the proceeds going towards Simone’s recovery costs.
“Simone has a very steep mountain to climb. Walking the mountains on the Cabot Trail pale in comparison to what Simone is facing,” Len wrote in an email response to the Casket.
“I’ve known her for years as I typically do my grocery shopping early in the morning when Simone normally works. She was such an active outdoors person that dedicating a long walk to her and raising some money for her rehabilitation made sense.
I am accepted e- transfers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further, a benefit dance and silent auction at the Antigonish Royal Canadian Legion, in the East Coast Credit Union Social Enterprise Centre, has been scheduled for Aug. 31 from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
The event will feature the musical talents of community favourite Ty Wallace and all proceeds from the event are going towards Simone's recovery funds.