Going the extra mile for cancer charity
Family, friends, employers or complete strangers, there’s no one Laverne Scott won’t hit up for Pals.
The Pembroke grandmother has raised $9,000 for the cancer charity in the last 14 years.
“It’s simple,” she said, “I just put my feet in the street.”
Even the writing of this article garnered an opportunity.
“I was telling this guy I met that I was nervous about being interviewed by the newspaper,” she said. “He said I could handle it, and gave me some money for Pals.”
She developed a fondness for the charity after they helped both her father Ralph Scott, and sister Deborah Scott, through cancer.
When Mr Scott developed lung cancer in 1999, Pals paid some of the extra costs related to his treatment.
Then later, Pals nurses visited him in his home.
They did much the same when Ms Scott’s sister Deborah was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Her father died 15 years ago, and her sister a few years later, but Ms Scott hasn’t forgotten Pals.
She started volunteering with them in 2003 when her friend Diana Simons asked for help.
Ms Simons was the Pals event’s founder.
“After I helped her with it, I thought I might as well take part in the walk,” said Ms Scott.
“I couldn’t do the whole thing because I have bad knees. If I tried to walk the whole thing they’d probably have to take me out in an ambulance. So, I decided to do part of it.”
She said the walk wasn’t hard, as she’s pretty fit from walking up and down stairs all day as an office cleaner.
“I felt really proud the first time I finished the walk,” she said.
In almost every year since, Ms Scott has had the number-one bib when doing the walk,
“I have number one because I’m their number-one fan,” she said.
Pals’ staff holds the number for her each year.
Pals executive director Colleen English DeGrilla said many walkers don’t collect pledges, they just pay the entry fee.
“Last year alone, LaVerne raised $1,000 in pledges for us,” said Ms English DeGrilla. “That’s pretty impressive.”
Ms Scott has her regular sponsors. They come looking for her when she misses them.
“Sometimes people say I can only give $2 and I say, that’s fine, whatever you can afford,” she said.
She said if you don’t give to Pals give to some other charity that has meaning for you.
“It’s important to give back,” she said.
Ms Scott also sells tags for Pals, and makes barley soup for their fair every November.
Last year, she was sick and wasn’t able to make it, and people complained.
“People wanted to know where the soup was,” said Ms Scott.
Her proudest moment came when she heard that iconic St David’s cook Dolly Pitcher complimented her soup.
“If she says it’s good soup, it’s good soup,” said Ms Scott. “I always have a pot going in the winter.”
She perfected her soup while working at the Green Lantern diner on Serpentine Road in Pembroke for 42 years.
“I started there when I was 16,” she said. “Over the years, I worked in every department.
“I started in the kitchen. I did grill, and I was cashier.”
It was there that she first met Ann Smith Gordon, former Pals executive director.
“She and her friend used to come in all the time,” Ms Scott said. “I would take some time out and sit with them. I’d say how many patients was it this week?
“She’d say ‘girl, you wouldn’t believe it’. That gave me the ambition to do more for Pals. It has touched every family.”
Ms Scott lost her job at Green Lantern when the place shut down in 2012.
“I raise the funds simply because I enjoy doing it,” she said. “I’d like to thank all the people who have donated to Pals over the years.”
• For more information about Pals see www.pals.bm or call 236-7257.
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