Every February, for more than 39 years, Bea Duquette has gone door to door, canvasing for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. This year, her last year, she was recognized with the B.C. and Yukon Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Heart of Gold Award.
“It’s just something I was asked to do many years ago,” she said. “I think it’s a really good thing, it saves a lot of lives. That’s what we’re here for, to help people.”
At 85, this year was Duquette’s last year canvasing for Heart month.
“The difference with [Duquette] is people look forward to her coming to their door, they expect to see her,” said Kari Warner, the local foundation manager. “She’s taken time to build friendships with people over the years along her routes.”
Each year the B.C. and Yukon Heart and Stroke Foundation recognizes one of it’s volunteers. Volunteers from across the province and territory are nominated by their local managers.
“It’s based on their service with us and how they have contributed to the foundation,” said Penny Collins, volunteer coordinator for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
During Heart Month Duquette walks six routes and knocks on around 150 doors. Warner said that she goes back until she catches someone at home.
Warner said that one of the things that makes Duquette so special is that speaking about heart health comes naturally to her.
“She has a lot of compassion but she’s spunky and she likes to make people laugh,” said Warner.
Duquette has been volunteering so long that they don’t know exactly how long she has been there or how much money she has raised. But for the past 10 years she has brought in between $2,500 and $3,000 during that month of February so $60,000 is a low total estimate.
Not only is Duquette involved in door to door canvasing, she also volunteers at the annual Big Bike event as well as picking up and depositing money from the schools who raise money through the Jump Rope for Heart program.
She has also managed to recruit other canvasers along the way.
Adrienne Bakker, the CEO of the foundation, presented Duquette with the award on May 3 at a luncheon organized specifically to celebrate Duquette.
“I felt like it meant a lot to her to be acknowledged,” Warner said.