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Lunenburg mourns the passing of Joy Saunders, 105

By Evan Taylor Apr 15, 2024 | 11:17 AM

Joy Saunders of Lunenburg passed away at the age of 105 on April 12, 2024. Photo" Sumbitted Image.

Joy Saunders, a beloved member of the Lunenburg community and a dedicated volunteer for the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) for over 30 years, passed away on April 12, at the remarkable age of 105.

Known for her indomitable spirit and unwavering commitment, Joy’s impact on her community and Nova Scotia resonated deeply, particularly during her remarkable efforts in the spring of 2020.

Carol Curley, Associate Vice President of Home & Community Care at VON Nova Scotia, reflected on Joy’s profound influence during a challenging period for the organization. “Joy was a beacon of inspiration for our staff during one of the most trying times for our organization and the entire province,” Curley remarked. “Her legacy will forever be cherished, and we extend our heartfelt condolences to her family.”

Inspired by the viral philanthropy of Captain Sir Tom Moore in the UK, who raised millions for the National Health Service, Joy, at the age of 101, embarked on her own fundraising journey. Despite considering herself “just an ordinary person,” she boldly declared, “I’m older than him, and I can walk farther… so I should do a fundraiser in my neighborhood!”

Her fundraising initiative gained momentum following the tragic mass shooting in Nova Scotia. Joy focused her efforts on honoring two beloved VON workers, Heather O’Brien and Kristen Beaton, who lost their lives in April 2020. She set a challenging goal to walk a 0.8 km route 102 times before her 102nd birthday in October.

Her endeavors raised over $80,000 for VON programs.

Joy’s campaign not only raised funds but also inspired hope and solidarity within the VON community amidst a challenging time. After a fall at home early in her campaign, the community rallied around her, continuing her mission and offering support through a Facebook page titled “Walking For Joy.”

In 2021, in recognition of her exceptional volunteerism, she received the Governor General’s Sovereign Medal for Volunteers.

Joy’s legacy of resilience, kindness, and boundless generosity continues to shine brightly, serving as a guiding light for all who knew her.