Carol Leitch is a Human Resources Manager at Edge Benefits, based in Newmarket, which provides flexible, affordable benefits for Canadian small businesses. Over the past twelve years, she says they have raised more than $600,000 for Southlake through their annual golf tournament and other fundraising activities. It began as an idea from a founding partner. “We have support from corporate sponsors and local companies,” says Carol. “It’s been very successful for us, and, you know, it goes to a good cause.”
They’ve given to various priority needs throughout the years, including cancer, mental health, cardiac, maternal health, and hospice. Neil Paton, current President and Chief Executive Officer, continues the legacy of carrying on this annual fundraiser.
“This is important to Edge Benefits because most of our staff live around Southlake – it is their local hospital.”
Edge Benefits has formed a deep connection to Southlake. Many of their employees rely on the hospital for care for themselves and their loved ones. Having access to leading edge care close to home improves patients’ and caregivers’ quality of life.
Carol was born in Newmarket and said Edge Benefits had maintained a close-knit family feeling culture since its beginnings in 1985. When she started twenty-one years ago, there were just four partners and 13 staff members. Now there are over 100 all across Canada.
“The growth over the years has been phenomenal, not only in our staff but in our actual business,” says Carol.
Despite the growth, employees are still engaged in their communities and want to give back. Although fundraising now looks slightly different because of COVID-19, they have been creative, including running raffles and offering prize incentives for employees.
Before she started fundraising for Southlake, Carol assumed that the government covered all our healthcare costs. However, in fact, the government does not fund most new or replacement equipment.. As a result, there is a monumental financial need to bring such critical specialized lifesaving technology, including a giraffe warmer Edge Benefits funded one year for Southlake’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Babies in the NICU and Birthing Unit need specialized equipment to care for them, but many critical pieces of equipment have reached the end of their service life. Donors like Edge Benefits are critical to ensure Southlake has the most up-to-date and advanced neonatal equipment available so babies can receive the best-specialized care they need.
“It just so happens that one of my daughters gave birth to my first grandson, and he needed to use one of those units,” said Carol. “It hits me personally. What would have happened if we hadn’t raised funds for the giraffe warmer?”
All six of Carol’s grandkids have been born at Southlake.
Carol emphasizes that “We all have a family. We all, whether it’s our immediate family or family outside our home, we have all relied on Southlake. We rely on their care. That’s our hospital.”
“We get tremendous buy-in from staff or our family members when we fundraise for Southlake – because we are family,” says Carol.
The 12th Annual Edge Benefits Golf Tournament will be in September.