The reality that is United Way

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Steve Pratt and Patricia Wright, co-chairs of this year’s Chatham-Kent United Way campaign, have both been clients of groups supported by the charity. They spoke at the United Way kick-off Friday night at which at $1.9 million goal was announced.
Steve Pratt and Patricia Wright, co-chairs of this year’s Chatham-Kent United Way campaign, have both been clients of groups supported by the charity. They spoke at the United Way kick-off Friday night at which at $1.9 million goal was announced.

For 2016 campaign co-chairs Patricia Wright and Steve Pratt, the power of United Way to change lives isn’t an abstract thought – it’s their reality.

The two were formally introduced during a moving kick-off ceremony at the Kent 1874 Friday night at which a campaign goal of $1.9 million was announced.

Patricia, who is epileptic and has an acquired brain injury due to a car accident, said without help from United Way funded groups, including Epilepsy Chatham-Kent and New Beginnings, “I wouldn’t be here today. I would still be stuck in a wheel chair in a hospital, non-communicative suffering from PTFD. I wouldn’t be able to have the freedoms I have now.”

Patricia’s story can be found at

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjneMNmBF0s

Steve Pratt said his life was in a downward spiral due to addictions. After a failed suicide attempt he said intervention from his sister and help from United Way gave him the opportunity to turn his life around.

Steve’s story can be found at

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xC4qaMKpgHw&feature=youtu.be

“This year’s goal is a modest increase over last year’s achievement of $1,852,699.  While we know that the requests from United Way funded agencies are likely to exceed the amount raised during the campaign, we also know that there are a number of other deserving charitable causes also raising funds in our community.  It is our hope that the citizens of Chatham-Kent will help us surpass this year’s target and ensure that these vital health and social services will be there for people like Patricia and me.  In our current economy, we believe that $1.9 million is realistic and the United Way is worthy of support,” said Pratt.

Those on hand to pledge their support at the Kick-Off Event included Union Gas, Chamberlain/Mercury Design & Print, Greenfield Specialty Alcohols, Christian Labour Association, Councillor Brock McGregor, Municipality of Chatham-Kent and many of the agencies that administer United Way partner programs.

“The community support displayed tonight is very encouraging.  We have already achieved 20% of our target.  Steve and I, along with other United Way volunteers and staff, will work tirelessly this fall/winter to achieve – and hopefully surpass – our goal,” added Wright.

As part of the campaign launch, “L’il Red” annual contribution envelopes have been mailed and will be arriving in mailboxes early next week. If you do not receive your “L’il Red”, contact the United Way office at 519-354-0430. You can also go to www.uwock.ca  to make a confidential, secure on-line donation.

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