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When community fundraisers make Sweet music


Born in 1957 in Nova Scotia, Paul Sweet, who loved music, sailing, fishing, hockey and especially conversation, became the beloved music teacher in Wetaskiwin’s high school when he and the love of his life, Bev, moved in 1981.  

Paul’s dedication to music education touched many lives, building a legacy that made an impact beyond the classroom. “Paul believed every student should be given the opportunity to pursue whatever passions they had, and he made that his life’s purpose.” His daughter-in-law, Katherine, says. There was no family in Wetaskiwin who didn’t know Paul Sweet and for some families, this relationship spanned multiple generations.

When Paul passed away from Alzheimer’s at 65 years of age, the community of Wetaskiwin came together to cherish his memory. On the day of his passing, a fundraiser for the Stollery Children’s Hospital’s music therapy program was launched through the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation, quickly exceeding its $25,000 goal and raising more than $30,000 in a matter of days. Paul’s family knew there would be an outpouring of support when he passed – the fundraiser gave community members a place to grieve, while celebrating his legacy.

“In small towns, people want to help. They want to do something; they want to show up.” Adam Sweet, Paul’s son, says, “they want to channel their grief into something productive.” 

The success of the fundraiser not only honoured Paul’s life and his love for music, but also showcased the Foundation’s role in bringing a community together. “There’s something unique about the rural environment, there’s this close-knit, we’re in this together vibe,” says Katherine. That rural ‘togetherness’ was able to launch their fundraising, and support the music therapy program at the Stollery.  

Memorial giving is a way to honour the memory of a friend or a loved one. Making a donation in their name creates a lasting remembrance for your loved one and a life-changing difference for Stollery kids.