Two years ago, Lou Anne Fox made a decision that would change the rest of her life – and improve the lives of many others along the way.
After hearing of a procedure that could help her close friend Wendy Primeau who has multiple sclerosis possibly walk again, Fox got to work and organized a way to help.
“After that auction for Wendy, a light bulb went off and I thought, why can’t I do this for other people?” said Fox.
That fundraising event was the springboard that led to the 48 year-old creating her own online auction, Help From The Heart, to help others in the Chatham-Kent area that are in need.
“People that have nowhere else to turn, that can’t get help from going and getting a mortgage or they’re in desperate need in emergency situations,” said Fox of those she helps.
Today, the Chatham resident has donated her time and efforts to benefit countless individuals and causes including the Salvation Army, Wallaceburg Animal Shelter and the Dresden Legion. For the Chatham Autism Group alone, $2,500 was raised.
The level of support from the community has stunned Fox, with local businesses making donations and Chatham-Kent citizens dropping off merchandise. A wide range of items are auctioned, even the occasional hotel stay and Avon products.
Every case helped is special to Fox, whether it be a little girl with leukemia whose wish was to own an iPad or a man with a leg amputation.
“All of them mean a lot,” said Fox.
Help From The Heart is run exclusively on Facebook. She created a group and with over 1,400 members, she photographs and posts every item for auction, which she likes to run at least once every two weeks to keep up with demand.
“We have a lot of people that are bidding on auctions constantly,” said Fox of her repeat buyers.
“We’d like to get out there a little bit more so people are more aware of the group to help it grow and help more people,” Fox added.
For Fox, she says the gratitude for her work comes from seeing the reactions from people when she says she is going to help them.
“When that person comes up and I hand them that money, and I see that sigh of relief on their face – right there,” Fox said pointing at her heart, “That’s what makes it worthwhile.”
“And hopefully if I ever need help someday, there will be somebody out there to help me,” she added.
When asked how long she anticipates continuing Help From The Heart, Fox answered with no hesitation.
“I can’t imagine myself not doing this in the future,” she said.
“I’m doing something what I love to do and if I can, I will.”