Josie Foundation

Dr. Gerard Losier sees many patients facing serious disorders who are struggling to pay for their basic needs, treatments and travel to medical appointments while they’re sick.

The Miramichi physician and philanthropist – who’s been a big supporter of the Josie Foundation along with his wife, Judy, for several years – said he and his family give to the foundation because they believe it does great work for the region.

During the foundation’s annual fundraising dinner Friday at Beaverbrook Kin Centre, the Losiers presented a cheque for $25,000 to the foundation.

That’s the same amount they’ve donated in each of the past three years, with their total contributions to the foundation now exceeding $100,000 in recent years.

“[The foundation] gives to people that are in need of help,” said Losier. “We couldn’t possibly do all that work by ourselves, but what we can do is support them by giving a donation.

“That’s why we’re proud to do it on a regular basis, and we’ve done it in the past.”

The Josie Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports people in the Miramichi region facing economic hardships due to chronic or life-threatening illnesses.

The foundation board consists entirely of volunteers. Funding to support those in need who apply through the foundation comes from individuals, businesses and other groups throughout the community.

The Rotary Club of Chatham is among several other major supporters of the foundation.

The Josie Foundation was founded in 2011 by Jake Stewart, a Blackville resident who’s known for his role as New Brunswick Aboriginal Affairs Minister and the Progressive Conservative MLA for Southwest Miramichi-Bay du Vin.

Stewart’s role with the foundation isn’t political, however. He created it to honour his late grandmother, Josie Sturgeon, who died when he was a child after battling cancer.

In addition to the Losiers’ support, the foundation also received donations Friday of $720 from the Blackville School student council and $1,500 from the Rotary Interact Club at North & South Esk Regional High School in Sunny Corner.

As well, there was a Chinese auction and live auction at the dinner, along with a moving story from guest speaker Stephen Somers about his family being hit by cancer three times in four years.

Losier said the foundation board’s volunteer efforts and Stewart’s vision upon founding it are other reasons his family supports the foundation with their philanthropy, which has touched numerous groups throughout the area.

The Losiers have been known to get behind other causes in the community, as well.

Judy Losier, an honorary director of the Josie Foundation, MCs the fundraising dinner and numerous other events in Miramichi throughout the year.

Dr. Losier has also been a vocal supporter of keeping the existing Mount St. Joseph Nursing Home open when the new facilities owned by Shannex in Douglastown and Chatham Head open in the coming years.

The building under construction in Chatham Head was named after Losier earlier this year.

“[The Josie Foundation] is an incredible thing for our community,” said Losier, who’s practiced medicine for about 37 years.

“We wholeheartedly support it.”

Just last week, Losier said, the foundation was contacted by a man in the area facing severe health issues.

The organization helped the man after officials learned he could no longer afford cable TV, Losier said.

Following the donations, Stewart and foundation president Lois Tozer thanked the Losiers for their generosity.

“It’s through your giving that we’re able to help people,” said Tozer, who joined the organization after losing her husband, Reg, to cancer in 2011.

“There’s nothing more gratifying than to see people when you give them assistance, and they’re down on their luck when this happens. It’s so good to help people in a situation of need.”

CREDIT: Nathan DeLong