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  • Vermilion Voice

Treats For Treatment

From left, Shaylyn McDougall and Rebecca Watling on February 15. Photo Angela Mouly

Lakeland College students will be hosting a Treats For Treatment fundraiser from March 8 - March 29 in order to fund a treatment bed at Thorpe Recovery Centre (TRC). Rebecca Watling from Wainwright, and a Child and Youth Care student at Lakeland College in Vermilion, spent time working at Thorpe in the past. “We were lucky to have Rebecca work with us, and while she was here she discovered the desperate need for funding and has decided to do her part and raise money to fund our detox program. A huge thank you to both Rebecca and Lakeland College for the opportunity these students have to raise awareness in our communities,” said Tricia Hunter, Thorpe Recovery Centre Development Officer. As part of their Leadership course, she will work with fellow student, Shaylyn McDougall (from Paradise Valley) through the fundraiser, and will have several pre-made dinners as well as frozen baked goods available. They have collaborated with Custom Bakery in Wainwright for the fundraiser, and once they receive the product list, they will be posting it on their Facebook page, and 15 per cent of their sales will go towards TRC. E-transfer, cheque or cash will be accepted for payment, and the site will automatically mail out a tax receipt. “Addiction. Often, when we hear that word, our thoughts turn negative. We tend to forget that those suffering with addiction are part of a family, part of a friend group, part of a community. Addiction has touched, or will touch, every single one of us. Addiction frightens us. As students of a Human Services Program at Lakeland College, we were given the task of formulating and implementing a program that would better our community. In 2018 2,300 phone calls were documented to the Thorpe Recovery Centre. Only 411 of those desperate phone calls were able to be admitted to the Centre due to a lack of funded beds. Out of the eight detox beds, only two are funded by Alberta and two are funded by Saskatchewan. Sadly, between 2016 and 2018, there were 1,405 opioid deaths recorded in Alberta. That’s 702 people a year – our people. 702 children. 702 parents. 702 friends. The need for funding is critical. These numbers are shocking; they are frightening. We have decided that our purpose for this project is to raise awareness about addiction as well as fundraise in hopes of raising enough money to fund a detox treatment bed. Some of those rejected phone calls I spoke of earlier have been the difference between life and death. After personally working at the Thorpe Recovery Centre, I was able to witness first-hand the heartbreaking epidemic. There were days when I left work and cried during my drive home (as did several other employees). Every single human being deserves the right to treatment and it’s unfair that they cannot access it due to a lack of funding. Let’s end the stigma. Start talking. Let’s open the door to communication – it’s okay to speak about addiction. Let’s help, instead of punishing or shunning those who are stuck in the cycle of addiction. We are asking for your help and support. If you can donate any amount, you would be saving lives. If you are unable to donate funds, please donate your time by sharing our Facebook post and spreading awareness about the desperate need for treatment funding. Thank you, everyone, for taking the time to read this and for your contributions to this project,” said Watling. As of February 14, they had raised $70 of their $1,750 goal. To make a donation, you can visit

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