Skip to content

Sault family revives Heather’s Christmas Wish campaign

Josh Ingram and his family are collecting donations for ARCH in honour of his mom Heather, a former Sault Star columnist who raised over $26,000 for the hospice while living there herself before passing away in 2009

Honouring the past by raising funds for a deeply personal cause.

That’s what Josh Ingram and his wife Danae, along with their young daughters Adia and Blythe, intend to accomplish with their charitable venture ‘Heather’s Christmas Wish in Support of ARCH.’

Josh is the son of Heather Ingram, a well-known columnist who wrote for The Sault Star for nearly two decades before passing away from cancer in 2009.

She moved to ARCH in her final months and was determined to continue writing columns for the paper despite her condition.

“She was a take-charge person, whether it was Christmas dinners at our house with 30 relatives or identifying a need in the community,” Josh Ingram says. “She didn’t take no for an answer, even up until the last stages of her life.”

Thankful for her care at ARCH, Heather launched a Christmas card campaign in November 2008, calling on Saultites to donate their loonies and toonies to the hospice, which at the time had only been around for a couple of years. 

By Christmas, the community had donated over $26,000 to ARCH.

“She was hoping for $500,” Danae Ingram says.

To honour his mother’s memory and highlight the impact she had at the hospice, Josh and his family are collecting donations for ARCH throughout the holiday season, which was a place the Ingrams say had rejuvenated Heather in many ways.

“During the last week she was at our house, we thought it was the end of the road for her as she had been battling cancer for over a decade at that point,” Josh Ingram says. “When she got to ARCH, however, the treatment, the care, and the medication she received snapped her back to life.”

On top of her work with The Sault Star, Heather was a motivational speaker who visited a number of high schools and took part in several tours at different women’s conferences, sharing her battles with cancer along the way.

According to Danae Ingram, the impact Heather left at ARCH in the final stages of her life remains palpable 14 years later.

“There are still nurses to this day we’ll run into in public and they’ll talk about her,” she says. “The people there were so genuine and inspired by the goal she held. She was just so touched by how beautiful it was to be spending her last days with that kind of atmosphere around her.”

“That place is just phenomenal,” Josh Ingram adds. “I know it holds a dear spot in a lot of families. It’s so integral and so important in our community.”

Once COVID restrictions began to ease up, Josh and Danae wanted to find a way to give back to the community, so they turned to their daughters for ideas.

“We approached them and told them we were trying to do something good for Christmas,” he says. “I think it was Blythe who said, ‘why don’t we do something like Grammi and Grandpa used to do?’”

Their daughters came up with the idea to collect loonies and toonies for ARCH in memory of their Grammi.

“It feels really good,” six-year-old Adia says. “We’re helping ARCH for people who are passing away.”

“They can miss their family a lot,” seven-year-old Blythe adds.

Despite never getting to meet their Grammi, Adia and Blythe have a sense of connection to their late grandparents thanks to a Christmas book that Danae put together, which holds photographs, stories, and other cherished memories.

The Ingrams have set up a donation platform on their Facebook page, and e-transfers can be made to joshingramssm@gmail.com.

Between their social media and e-transfers, the family has already raised around $800.

The family’s goal of raising $1000 will surely be surpassed, but their daughter Blythe has even bigger goals in mind.

“I want to raise more than what Grammi got,” she says.

Donation jars are set up at Outspoken Brewery, Georgie’s Shawarma, Hess Jewellers, and Metallo’s Mini Mart.

Jars will be at each location until Dec. 23, and the Ingrams will count the money with their daughters on Christmas Day, just like they did with their mom Heather in 2008.

The Ingrams then plan to donate the money to ARCH on Jan. 1, which is also Heather’s birthday.

“We wanted to do it in a positive light,” Danae Ingram says. “Not just the gloomy parts of having lost her, but to celebrate who she was and that connection too. It doesn’t have to be such a heavy topic for the kids; they can talk about her and be excited about her.”

While the Ingrams like the idea of organizing Heather’s Christmas Wish every year, they’re open to other year-round ventures as well.

“I think it’s important to continue talking about not just Christmas, but all year round of what it means to be a community member and to be giving back,” Josh Ingram says “I’m more than happy to do this with the kids every year, but if they get passionate about another cause at Christmas time, then I don’t want to diminish that. The bigger message is that we’re actively doing something on a regular basis.”

Reader Feedback


Alex Flood

About the Author: Alex Flood

Alex is a recent graduate from the College of Sports Media where he discovered his passion for reporting and broadcasting
Read more