On Sunday, April 10, more than 200 people came to the JGH Hope & Cope Wellness Centre / Lou’s House to participate in Good Deeds Day, a world-wide event that encourages people to do good around them. Created in 2007 by an Israeli NGO, Good Deeds Day has since spread to 70 countries around the world.
At the initiative of the Consulate General of Israel in Montreal, six other members of this city’s Consular Corps joined in the fun as they took families coping with cancer on an international culinary and cultural journey, all from the comfort of Lou’s House. Guests were welcomed by an enthusiastic team consisting of Israeli Consul General in Montreal, Ziv Nevo Kulman, and his consular staff as well as Hope & Cope volunteers.
The house was filled with activities for the young and the young at heart: story-telling, face painting, cooking demonstrations, and harp music provided by Olga Gross. Chef Ayelet Or shared her recipe for cream cheese chocolate chip cookies, while Margarita and Francesca, from the catering company Buono, showed a standing-room only crowd how to make tagliatelle pasta and tiramisu. Other treats served throughout the afternoon included Israeli hummus, Chilean empanadas, homemade brownies (courtesy of the United States) and Swiss chocolates. The Mexican consulate sent over two huge piñatas filled with candy which the children had great fun trying to break, and three bottles of Tequila which were given as door prizes.
In a brief ceremony, Jonathan Burnham, Director for Cultural Affairs at the Israeli Consulate, and his wife, fashion journalist and blogger, Lolitta Dondoy, explained why Hope & Cope was chosen as the site of Montreal’s first ever Good Deeds Day. “When I had cancer six years ago, this house was such an important part of my recovery,” said Lolitta. Jonathan emphasized that the support they received here as a couple helped them tremendously throughout the process of treatment and recovery.
Mr. Kulman expressed his delight at the turnout and his pride in bringing good deeds to Hope & Cope, telling the assembled crowd that, “You are all doing good and we wish you all the best.”
Beat Urs Kaser, Consul General of Switzerland and Dean of Montreal’s Consular Corps, echoed this message. “I am deeply touched to be here in this wonderful place and am so happy that seven consulates in Montreal joined us today.”
Other members of the Consular Corps in attendance were Michael Polak, Honourary Consul of the Netherlands for Montreal, and his wife, Pennie, who led a discussion with Lolitta entitled “Keep Your Head Up”; Jaime Contreras, Consul of Chile; Nina Fite, Consul General of the United States; and Filippo Lonardo, Consul of Italy in Montreal.
Hope & Cope’s Executive Director, Suzanne O’Brien, thanked the Israeli Consulate and the distinguished members of the Consular Corps for their participation in this wonderful event. “Cancer knows no borders. We see this very clearly at Lou’s House, where we welcome cancer survivors who come from all walks of life and all corners of the globe,” she said. She invited them to go back to their communities and let them know that Hope & Cope is here for everyone, providing support for every age and every stage of cancer.