Flowers help raise funds for cancer patients but more resources needed
By Kirk Starratt
The gladiolas are blooming in Marg’s Glad Garden in Grafton.
For Murray and Dorothy Salsman, the garden is a labour of love and a way to raise much-needed funds to support people battling cancer in Kings, Annapolis and Digby counties.
Murray founded the Margaret Salsman Cancer Care Memorial Fund in memory of his late wife, who passed away in 2004. Since then, thousands of dollars have been raised through the many free-will offerings for bouquets from the garden and the generous fundraising efforts of many groups and individuals.
The Salsman’s also rely on many volunteers to make the garden a success, including neighbour Rachel Downton.
“I think it’s absolutely fantastic, it’s a brilliant cause and it’s just a wonderful thing to do,” Downton said.
She sometimes tends to the garden for the Salsman’s if the couple needs a day off and said the gladiolas are “absolutely beautiful” and the “colours are magnificent.”
Murray said the weather hasn’t been that co-operative this year, but they’ve been quite busy. His late wife Margaret was an avid gardener who loved gladiolas. After her death, Murray decided to plant 3,500 glad bulbs and hold a glad day in support of the Cancer Care Patient Navigator Program at Valley Regional Hospital. There was no funding available to help patients with expenses.
His initial effort raised $3,500. Someone suggested he become a registered charity so he could issue tax receipts. Now, with the help of many volunteers, Murray and Dorothy, both cancer survivors, plant between 8,000 and 10,000 bulbs each year. The Cancer Care Navigator Program now refers patients with demonstrated financial need to the charity.
When you make a regular donation to the fund or a donation in memory of a loved one at a funeral home, the Salsman’s will send you a thank you card featuring the glad of hope, the symbol of the Margaret Salsman Cancer Care Memorial Fund.
“Right now, we are very short of funds,” Murray said. “I don’t know how much longer we can keep going unless someone starts raising money for us.”
Businesses that donate $100 or more get their name placed on a pink, heart-shaped sign that is posted in the garden for the year. The Salsman’s also have a memorial garden with pink flowers in the shape of the breast cancer ribbon. For a donation of $100 or more, the name of a loved one who has passed away from cancer is painted on a pink, heart-shaped sign and placed in the garden as a permanent memorial.
Like with any other war, it takes a lot of resources to fight the battle against cancer and Murray said they’re looking for fundraising champions in Kings County.
Since its inception, the charity has paid out more than $120,000 to help cancer patients and their families deal with financial burdens.
The Salsman’s will be tending the glad garden throughout the month of August, from noon to 8 p.m. They’re located at 5387 Brooklyn Street in Grafton - just follow the pink signs.