Sunflowers of hope fill St. Thomas area fields
A St. Thomas area farmer has turned his darkest day into the brightest field in the London region.
Jay Curtis, 59, has thousands of sunflowers in bloom on several acres of land.
The flowers are a way of giving back to healthcare workers following a personal bout with cancer.
At 57, a PSA test and a follow-up biopsy confirmed a diagnosis of prostate cancer. “It changes the way you look at life after you go through something like that,” Curtis tells CTV London.
Grateful for his quick recovery, Curtis decided to plant sunflowers as a fundraiser for the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC). His first effort raised over $10,000 in donations and revenue from selling the seeds for cooking oil. Now, the second season will go towards his area hospital.
“This year, we went with the St. Thomas local hospital, just for the chemo department. Last year was about me and what I did. This year is about other people.”
And that extends to the fields, where a neighbour offered up his pasture land to expand the “Sunflowers for Hope” project.
“It’s been a trying time for the last couple of years,” Mike Bechard reflects as he thinks of his neighbour’s battle with cancer.
He says the decision to proceed with the crop was an easy one to make. “And if we can give back to the community and to the medical department, it would be great, because we’re all affected somehow,” Bechard said.
It's a point echoed by Curtis, who often wonders if his fields will be visited by others battling cancer and looking for hope.
“I’ve been there. It can end well, and that’s the message. Never give up hope!”.
The sunflowers are located on Mapleton Line, just north of St. Thomas. The public is invited to walk through the fields and take pictures. More information can be found here.
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
A group of family members of Indigenous women killed across B.C. is calling for more police accountability and improved communication when investigating missing person cases across jurisdictions. The families spoke out on the eve of Canada-wide Sisters in Spirit vigils Oct. 4 to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
Two winning lottery tickets in Ontario are on the verge of expiring.
Hockey Canada's board chairs, past and present, will answer to the federal government today on the hockey body's handling of alleged sexual assaults and how money was paid out in lawsuits.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault and the CAQ win a majority government, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will take the stand in the Emergencies Act inquiry, and North Korea fires a missile over Japan. Here's what you need to know to start your day.
Neighbourhoods in the Essa Road and Ferndale Drive area have been without power since early this morning.
Two people have been charged in connection to an ongoing robbery investigation in Essa Township.
NEW THIS MORNING | Neighbourhood character at issue on the municipal campaign trail
Toronto police will be providing an update on Tuesday afternoon on their investigation into carjacking incidents.