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STORYDONORAshley1

An interview with monthly donor Ashley Abbott

You just get great insight into an important cause, and develop a human connection to this special place that’s really making a difference for so many people. Just start with a simple donation and see what it sparks.

Ashley Abbott, Donor

Why did you start giving to Casey House?
I knew and admired several board volunteers – people like Laurie Pawlitza, Brian MacDonald and Brian Shackleton. A number of us shared stories of the people we’ve lost to HIV. Watching these people who I respect and trust, who have a deep knowledge of Casey House’s work and who remain committed over many years – they really inspired me to step up and become a monthly donor.

What has that experience been like?
Over the years my monthly donations have gone up and down, as my work life has changed. Even when I’m only giving a little bit each month, it’s been a nice way to stay connected. I recently launched my own business and so had to scale back my giving a bit. When I called Casey House to let them know, there was no pressure, no sales pitch, only understanding. And this fits perfectly with what Casey House represents. I’m looking forward to the day when my gifts to Casey House will increase again. Do you feel part of the Casey House donor community? Whether through invitations to donor events or advance notice of fundraising events like Art with Heart, there are more opportunities than I can take advantage of on a regular basis. But I always feel welcome and invited.

Why should someone consider becoming a donor to Casey House?
Right now, it’s a special time for Casey House. Reading the annual report, it’s clear we’re facing a totally different reality from what was happening when Casey House was set up. Care is needed in a different way, and I like the way Casey House is responding with a bold move in terms of the redevelopment to increase capacity. When you’re talking about people who will live for many years with the disease, it’s obvious that they’re going to need support. I have been living near Casey House for many years and I like that it’s going to become even more visible with the new building on Jarvis. I can see that it will be something that we’ll point to and say “Yeah, excellent compassionate care is happening here, and I’m a part of making it happen.” I don’t know how many people realize that Casey House is so well known in the world. Perhaps many of us take it for granted, or try to avoid thinking about it. But it’s important that we have a place like Casey House.

What do you recommend for someone making their first donation to Casey House?
I’d say… start and see what interesting things happen as a result. Giving to Casey House – it’s not just anonymously throwing a donation into a donation box, or writing a cheque and getting a receipt in the mail. As a donor, you have the opportunity to get engaged, to attend events, to learn about the issue. Or not – it’s up to you. But you do have something to gain from the experience, and you don’t have to worry about being harassed for more money or pressured by a mountain of expectations. You just get great insight into an important cause, and develop a human connection to this special place that’s really making a difference for so many people. Just start with a simple donation and see what it sparks.