Caroline’s Gift, Kyra’s Kupboard host fundraising dinner to support cancer patients

Sharon Parish (pictured right), founder of Caroline’s Gift, and the Roberts family, who founded Kyra’s Kupboard, hosted a fundraising chicken dinner at St. Mary’s Hall on Friday evening. The funds will support local cancer patients in a variety of ways.

by Sylene Argent

On Friday evening, local families had the opportunity to support a fundraising chicken dinner, hosted at St. Mary’s Hall in Maidstone, which two local groups, Caroline’s Gift and Kyra’s Kupboard, hosted. Both groups set out to raise funds to try to make the lives of local individuals living with cancer a little bit better.

  Parish noted this is the fourth fundraiser she has hosted through Caroline’s Gift, and the second one she has hosted with the Roberts family of Windsor, who created Kyra’s Kupboard.

  Parish founded Caroline’s Gift four years ago, after her sister, after whom the group is named, passed away from breast cancer in 2015. Caroline was a Christmas fanatic, so Parish, in wanting to make the holiday season easier on her family after the loss of her sister and wanting to aid an area family experiencing cancer to have a great Christmas, formed Caroline’s Gift. The group has since evolved from focusing on the holiday season. The funds are now set aside to support a family in need in different ways.

  Kyra Roberts, the inspiration behind Kyra’s Kupboard, was the first individual Caroline’s Gift supported. Kyra passed away in 2017 from ovarian cancer at the age of 25, the same age as Caroline.

  Since sponsoring Kyra, Parish and the Roberts became good friends.

  Members of the community can reach out to either group if they know someone who could benefit from their mandates.

  Around 100 community members supported the fundraiser, and had the opportunity to get a picture taken holding a picture of a loved one, from Stephen Fillion Photography, who donated his time to do so. Parish said this was a way to show those who have lost a loved one that their family member is still with them.

  Terence Roberts, Kyra’s dad, said what his family discovered when his daughter was ill, was that the 18-25 age group can fall through the cracks as they are less likely to have benefits. The added costs of meals, gas, parking, amongst others, add up and creates another layer of stress for the individual battling cancer.

  Before Kyra passed, Terence said, his daughter left a list of wishes for her loved ones to accomplish for her in return for all of the kindness she received during her battle.

  “She wanted us to pass it [that kindness] forward. She wanted to make it better for the person coming behind her [needing treatment],” Terence said.

  One of Kyra’s wishes was that no one else would have to travel for treatment. She used intraperitoneal chemotherapy, which was not available in Windsor. She did befriend an individual who worked at bringing that treatment locally.

  Railings were also added to the front area of her treatment ward at her request.

  Her family now also hands out Kyra’s Compassionate Care Awards, annually, which honours a suit nurse, a hospital nurse, and a homecare provider for going above and beyond.  This was started as Kyra wanted to show gratitude to those who work in the medical field for their care. 

She also wanted to help others with the costs of gas, parking, lodging, and meals. So, that is where the funds Kyra’s Kupboard raised on Friday will go toward.