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Jessica Durka and her husband James in front of a tractor

A Pumpkin Patch of Inspiration: Raising Funds for Cancer Care

Jessica Durka from Waterford has been a supporter of the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre Foundation for over four years through her Pumpkin Patch Market.
Jessica Durka in front of a shed, holding a pumpkin.

Thank you to Jessica and James Durka for making a real difference in the lives of patients with cancer. For the fourth year in a row, they have sold pumpkins and other autumn-related items to raise money for Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre Foundation.

From the VanGoethem farm in Waterford, which is owned by Jessica’s father Mark, they sold thousands of pumpkins this year alone. Jessica and James also held an online auction and sold additional items, such as pumpkin-themed hats and cookies, dried corn stalks, straw bales, gourds and other home-decorating items for the fall. They raised over $45,000 this season – and that’s not including the more than $90,000 they raised in previous years.

Jessica is no stranger to cancer, having received care at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Their previous fundraising supported the Tomorrow Stems From You campaign and the opening of the Ron and Nancy Clark Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapies Unit. Jessica and James’ efforts also helped to fund vital equipment for the treatment of patients with blood cancers. Supporters like Jessica and James enhance patient care and help the specialized teams at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre deliver the best care possible when it’s needed most.

Funds raised this year will enable the purchase of a flow cytometer – a valuable tool that helps with the detailed analysis of blood cells.

Jessica and James inspire us with their dedication to making the world a better place. The incredible support from many local businesses and generous people in their hometown and surrounding area bears testament to their spirit of gratitude, and their strong desire to give back and support patient care at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre. You are truly a shining light in the community.

Thank you from all of us at Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation/Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre Foundation. We can’t wait to celebrate with you in early November!


Pearl F. Veenema, FAHP

Chief Executive Officer

Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation

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