ARNPRIOR – The pandemic may have changed the event, but it didn’t change the Penny Stashick Ugly Sweater Walk being another huge fundraiser for Arnprior Regional Health (ARH).

Event organizer Derek Stashik poses with his daughte at last year's Ugly Sweater Walk.
Event organizer Derek Stashik poses with his daughte at last year’s Ugly Sweater Walk. Courtesy the Ugly Sweather Walk

The unique event in only its third year has quickly become a fundraising hero for ARH. The event encourages individuals or teams to fundraise for the hospital, then gather together and go for a walk around Arnprior in your ugliest holiday sweater.

The pandemic, like all events, changed this year’s format and people were encouraged to raise money and go for a walk in their COVID-19 bubble.

Despite the reduced social element of the event, the Ugly Sweater Walk, held virtually between Dec. 5 and Dec. 12 still raised $19,428.20 for the hospital, and the campaign will continue to accept donations for another 24 days.

“Today is the last day we’re running our virtual ugly sweater walk, that we do in memory of mom, with all proceeds going towards the Arnprior hospital’s equipment needs,” son Derek Stashick released in a statement Dec, 12. “Just like every year, we’re absolutely floored at the generosity of all our friends, family, and our community. If you haven’t donated yet, here’s the link if you have a few bucks to spare to help out the hospital in a year where they need our help more than ever. Thank you, And Merry Christmas from our family to yours.”

The event is in memory of Penny Stashick, an important member of the Arnprior community who lost her battle with ovarian cancer.

“She was someone who always put others first, loved the holiday season, and took every chance she had to dress up like a goofball,” Derek said.