Goldrush Grannies call it a day

Grandmother to Grandmothers Campaign continues to fight AIDS

Almost nine years ago, well-known local resident Wendy Hamblin became concerned about the plight of grandmothers in all parts of Africa who were raising multiple grandchildren whose parents had died of AIDS.

At that time, there was very little help for this problem, but Canadian Stephen Lewis, the United Nations’ Special Envoy to Africa, recognized the need.

Hamblin attended a conference in Toronto hosted by the Stephen Lewis Foundation for the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign.

After bringing this knowledge back to 100 Mile House, a group of local women eagerly took up the cause and the Goldrush Grannies was born.

Since then, more than $50,000 has been raised by the Grannies through community events, bake sales and 10-kilometre walks for which pledges were gathered and all proceeds went to the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

The Goldrush Grannies has the satisfaction of knowing that members have helped to supply items, such as sewing machines and agricultural tools that enable the grandmothers in Africa to earn a living.

However, the intervening eight years have taken their toll on the already grandmotherly group and, unfortunately, there are fewer and fewer members physically able to take part in the events.

At a meeting on Jan. 22, it was decided to disband the Goldrush Grannies.

The Stephen Lewis Foundation is still working to turn the tide of AIDS, but now other agencies are involved in partnership and anti-viral drugs are more readily available.

Should anyone wish to continue to donate to the cause, details can be found online at stephenlewisfoundation.org.

The Goldrush Grannies extend a heartfelt thank-you to this “wonderful” community, which has supported the cause during the last eight-and-a-half years.