One person’s legacy can mean a new future for another. The life of Miles Hammond was taken too soon, just days after his first birthday due to an aggressive cancer. Now, Miles’ legacy is giving the best possible start to babies born at Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (Soldiers’).
Through unbelievable strength in a devastating time, Miles’ parents Kent and Kate Hammond saw an opportunity to give hope to other families in need of support for their little ones. They started an endowment fund in Miles’ name and they recently hosted the first annual Miles Philip Hammond Memorial Fundraiser, successfully raising $20,000 for paediatric equipment at Soldiers’ and the Miles Hammond Endowment Fund.
The memorial fundraiser for Miles took place close to what would have been his second birthday. It was the first time his family was able to host a memorial or come together to celebrate his life due to the pandemic restrictions of the past two years. The simple fundraiser, hosted at Bracebridge Hall included music, dancing, a silent auction and the chance to share memories of the smiley baby boy that touched the hearts of many.
Most impressive was the generosity of the community that surrounds the Hammonds and their willingness to join in the cause. “Our goal for the event was to raise between $8,000 to $10,000 but we had so many big donations come in and so many community members and local businesses that helped with the silent auction,” said Kate Hammond. “We are extremely thankful for that support and for everyone that participated to make this first event exceed our expectations.”
The proceeds from the Miles Philip Hammond Memorial Fundraiser will be used to purchase a Halo Bassinest for the paediatrics department at Soldiers’. The Halo Bassinest provides a safe, and secure bed for babies while offering mom’s safe and comfortable access to their newborn. Remaining proceeds will be added to the Miles Hammond Endowment Fund that Kate and Kent initiated through the Soldiers’ Foundation.
Starting the endowment was the first step in honouring Miles’ life and creating his legacy. The endowment will continue to support advancements for Soldiers’ Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Paediatric department. “Our hope is to build it up big enough so that the interest can have an annual impact; that it’s doing something substantial every year,” said Kent.
Choosing to direct the endowment funds to Soldiers’ was a natural choice for Kent and Kate because Miles received some of his cancer care through the Paediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (POGO) satellite clinic at the Hospital. “The staff were phenomenal, we were blown away by the level of attention and professionalism and the doctors and nurses were top of the line,” said Kate after reflecting how helpful it was to drive to Orillia from Bracebridge and not need to travel to Toronto for every part of Miles’ care. She said, “Every time we went to Soldiers’ we felt completely in the best hands.”
To make a donation towards the Miles Hammond Endowment Fund visit osmhfoundation.ca/donate and reference ‘Miles Hammond’ in the comments.