Dominique Ryan has been raising money for organizations across Cape Breton for the past year and a half.
The 22-year-old New Waterford woman spends her free time collecting, even purchasing, items to offer up as prizes in auctions and raffles. She has raised more than $69,000.
Ryan became a continuing care assistant right around the time the pandemic hit. It motivated her to start helping people.
"So working as a CCA I realized some ... seniors don't have a lot of family around for Christmas or turkey dinner or a gift card to go get their turkey dinner and it kind of inspired me to be like, 'OK, I can do this, take some time out of my day to make somebody else's day better.'"
With the help of the private Facebook group where she does her auctions and raffles, Ryan has donated to all sorts of charities, including the Cape Breton SPCA, Boys and Girls Club of Cape Breton, Special Olympics, homeless shelters, and adopting seniors for Christmas.
"I feel very grateful…. It wouldn't be possible without the group, so I thank them so much because if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be able to help as many people as I did."
Ryan said she usually just goes on social media to see what organizations need, then she goes out and raises money to get it done.
That might mean purchasing a hotel stay, chocolates, or any other treats she thinks might attract interest. Then she raffles or auctions the items off.
"It's absolutely incredible," said Ryan Toomey, development officer with the Cape Breton SPCA.
Toomey said Ryan has donated to the SPCA twice now and her efforts have prompted other people in the community to help out as well.
"I hope her efforts to raise funds for charities in Cape Breton continue to inspire others to do the same. We're a small town and giving locally is incredibly important."
She said she's taking a short break but plans to start fundraising again in January.
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