At its Annual General Meeting, held on September 23rd, 2011, March of Dimes honoured several individuals and corporations who are endeavouring to enhance the lives of people living with physical disabilities.
For her commitment to accessibility for people with physical disabilities, Joan Hobbs was awarded the 2011 March of Dimes Rt. Honourable Paul Martin Sr. Award. The award was initiated in 1988 in honour of the former Honorary Campaign Chair of March of Dimes, the late Paul Martin Sr., who waged a personal battle against polio. The award is presented annually to an individual(s) for service to March of Dimes in the areas of fundraising, service or policy.
March of Dimes has its origins in a fundraising campaign that began 60 years ago, where women, known as 'Marching Mothers’ went door-to-door to raise funds into research into a polio vaccine. With their support, the vaccine was declared safe in 1955, and March of Dimes switched its mandate to supporting polio’s survivors with disabilities, eventually expanding to serve anybody with a disability.
Joan Hobbs has been involved with the Door-to-Door Campaign in Aylmer for an astonishing 55 years!
Joan started her extraordinary volunteer campaign with a group of women in her community of Aylmer, who all canvassed their neighbours on behalf of March of Dimes. At a point about 20-25 years ago, as community interest started to wane and as each of the ladies passed on, the job of knocking on doors became too much for Joan to handle. Many people would have simply stopped volunteering at that point – but not Joan! Instead, she converted the door-to-door campaign to a mailing campaign – and continues to do so. Each year, she personally stuffs and labels 3,000+ appeal letters and envelopes! As donations come in, she personally hand-delivers receipts to donors. She has raised more than $3,000 every year for the last three years.
According to Jim Strachan, who oversees the Community Campaign, it's a fair guess to say that over the last 55 years, she's been involved in helping to raise over $150,000 for March of Dimes!
"I cannot think of somebody more deserving of this Award than Joan Hobbs," says Ruth Kapelus of March of Dimes Canada, who nominated her. "What she has done, continuously supporting not only March of Dimes – but a number of different charities and organizations in her community is just staggering and very humbling – she is an amazing woman and what she has done for March of Dimes is remarkable and we could not be more grateful."
Joan was presented with her award at March of Dimes’ Annual General Meeting on September 23rd in Toronto. She was also given a letter personally signed by Former Prime Minister the Right Honourable Paul Martin on behalf of his family.
Joan proves unequivocally that one person can truly make a difference. Thank you Joan for all you do!