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Top prizes awarded in Jeremy Snook Memorial Raffle, $106,500 raised

PHOTO. Brian and Gail Snook stand with the grand prize from the 2nd Annual Jeremy Snook Memorial Raffle. July 29, 2016. Sarah Anderson

The 2nd Annual Jeremy Snook Memorial Raffle has raised more than $106,500 for the palliative care expansion planned at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre.

Terry Power, of Fort McMurray took home the grand prize, a 2016 Dodge 2500 Laramie Mega Cab Diesel 4×4 with Marathon Truckboss Sled Deck and 2016 Can-Am 850MAX XT Quad, a retail value of over $108,600. The grand prize package was supported by Legacy Dodge, GTS Powersports and RV, and Marathon Manufacturing.

Ron McKenzie, also of Fort McMurray, won the runner-up prize of $10,000. Both men are friends of the Snook family.

“That’s awesome, I’m really excited,” said Gail Snook, Jeremy’s mother. “It’s good to know.”

She said they’re grateful to the community for its support in raising the money and buying all of the 425 available tickets.

“We want to thank everyone for all their support the last couple years and the donations that people make in memory of him, we’re very, very thankful for all that,” said Gail Snook.

Jeremy Snook passed away at 19 from brain cancer and spent his final days at the hospital in conditions that were difficult because there wasn’t enough space for his family to be with him. The rooms in the unit now are small and consist of just one bed and a washroom. During their son’s final days, Brian and Gail would have to have conversations in the hall about his end of life care.

“I can’t even, there’s no words to describe the feeling that we were going through, pretty emotional,” said Gail Snook of hearing the story of their son’s final days told again at the draw Friday.

Thanks to the dedication of Gail and Brian Snook more than $233,500 has been raised toward expanding the palliative care unit, which is part of the ambitious Gratitude Campaign being run now by the Northern Lights Health Foundation aimed at raising $16 million for several projects that are necessary for providing quality health care in our community.

The upgrades to the palliative care units will see the inclusion of family space, a separate bed for a loved one, a washroom, food preparation and doors to allow private conversations about difficult decisions.

Much of that will be possible because of the work of Gail and Brian Snook but she said they’re not doing it for praise.

“It’s something that we definitely need at our hospital here in Fort McMurray and just can’t wait for the day that we can actually reveal the rooms and people can have a look at what our goal was,” she said.

The goal of the new rooms is to provide a home-like atmosphere where patients and their loved ones can be comfortable during end of life care. This project is one of eight projects encompassed in The Gratitude Campaign.

“The Health Foundation is absolutely thrilled with the success of this year’s raffle. We are so blessed to have tremendous advocates like Brian and Gail work together with us on this initiative. Their passion for making a difference in our community in memory of their son is truly remarkable,” said Cindy Amerongen, Executive Director of the Health Foundation.

Despite the fact the community was away for a month during the raffle all 425 tickets were sold, evidence of how much the community cares about its health care.