Her best memory? It’s the same every year: when the volunteers arrive for set-up day.
Annette Hurd was not involved in the first two Lights of Hope campaigns but she was part of the next 18 and looks forward to celebrating the 20th anniversary this year.
Annette has lots of great stories, like the time she flipped one of the switches to test the display on the morning of the lighting ceremony—and nothing happened.
It was discovered that half the display was not turning on!
“Nothing,” says Annette. “And soon enough the news trucks would start arriving, the stages would be set up and the street entertainment would be on site. Not to mention the hundreds of people that would be coming downtown to see the lights go on. I was completely panic stricken. I will never forget that moment.”
The problem was fixed, however, and Annette heaps all of the credit on Dave McIndoe, who was supervisor of the electrical department at St. Paul’s at the time and still sits with Annette on the volunteer-run Lights of Hope logistics committee.
“Dave and his crew saved the day,” says Annette. “It turned out that one of the main cables had crashed, which had impacted much of the display. Fortunately, they were able to fix the problem in time. I was across the street, doing some prep work at the Wall Centre, when I got a call from Dave. He said, ‘Look outside.’ I did and the entire display was on. That was a wonderful moment.”
Of the volunteers: “It’s in their hearts.”
While Annette’s “lights out” story fits the bill for what has gone wrong over the years, most times everything goes right. When asked to mention any moments that may have touched her in some special way, Annette says it always warms her heart on the morning of set-up day when the volunteers start arriving because everyone knows they’re going to be working together to create something spectacular.
“There are over a hundred volunteers and they are coming in from the valley, the north shore, Ladner, you name it, we even have a group that comes up from Portland, Oregon! And everyone is arriving at St. Paul’s at six in the morning on a Saturday, often in cold, wet conditions. And the only reason they are doing this is because they want to help St. Paul’s. They know that what they’re doing will help people. It’s in their hearts. For me, that’s always what makes Lights of Hope so special—the volunteers.”
Annette does mention one other special moment. It was when a couple approached her and some of the other volunteers and shared with them that their child had been in Emergency at St. Paul’s. They said that through the long hours waiting for results, they found themselves sitting under the lights of the display, and they said those moments they spent together there gave them hope that everything would be okay.
“To experience a moment like that,” says Annette. “For a family undergoing such an ordeal, taking time to tell you they appreciate what you’re doing. That’s a privilege.”
“I couldn’t let it go”
Annette was originally hired in 2000 on a contract with St. Paul’s Foundation to manage and coordinate Lights of Hope. She had been doing events with BC Women’s Hospital Foundation at the time when a colleague of hers, Jane Adams, accepted the position of executive director at St. Paul’s Foundation. And when St. Paul’s needed someone to manage Lights of Hope, Jane called Annette and brought her on board.
But why is Annette still so involved in Lights of Hope? After all, she retired in 2009.
“I just couldn’t let it go,” she says. “I have so many links to St. Paul’s. I have many friends who have been helped here. My two daughters were born there. But most of all, it’s because of the outstanding Lights of Hope committee, the dedicated volunteers who just keep coming back, and all the good this fundraiser does for the hospital. My entire family has been involved and I just can’t imagine not being around it.”
Lights of Hope remains the single largest community fundraising event of the year for St. Paul’s Foundation. Please be a part of Lights of Hope this year by making your gift today.
Donate today and help us celebrate 20 years of hope!