CAMH Foundation

CAMH Foundation

November 18, 2009 09:02 ET

Gifts of Light to Help Those Staying at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Over the Holidays

Spokesperson Valerie Pringle Helps Bring Gifts of Lights to 600 People at CAMH

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 18, 2009) -

Editors Note: Photos and a video are included with this Press Release.

Award-winning broadcaster, Valerie Pringle, knows what it means for many people staying at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) to receive a Gift of Light over the holidays. Ms. Pringle, spokesperson for the charity gift giving campaign, volunteered last year to deliver gifts to some of the 600 people staying in the hospital.

"It was such an emotional experience. I felt privileged to be able to share the gifts with people and let them know that they were thought of during the holidays - and that we were cheering them on in their recovery," Ms. Pringle said. "Some were surprised, others were moved to tears at the reminder they are not alone. It made a huge difference in lifting their spirits."

Gifts of Light are real gifts that you can purchase through the CAMH Foundation to support someone from our community who is staying at the hospital over the holiday. This is the second year for this charity gift giving campaign.

"Because of the stigma surrounding mental illness and addiction, many of the people staying at CAMH do not receive cards, gifts or even visitors while undergoing treatment," said Darrell Louise Gregersen, CAMH Foundation President and CEO. "Gifts of Light are an opportunity for each of us to show our support to someone on the road to recovery and remind them that they are not alone."

Great Gift Ideas

While hospital gowns and other basics are necessities at the hospital, Gifts of Light are items that will help bring comfort to those staying at CAMH. Gifts include:

- Blanket, $35

- Robe, $75

- Pajamas and slippers, $45

- Care kit, $10

- Winter warmers, $25

Other symbolic gifts include donations for:

- Healing arts, $30

- Strong families, $40

- Healthy breakfast, $10

- Client learning, $75

- Holiday celebration, $20

When you purchase a Gift of Light, you will receive a special holiday card to give to a friend or family member, explaining how the gift, purchased in their honour, has touched the life of someone living with mental illness or addiction.

Gifts of Light can be purchased at or by calling 416-979-6909, toll free at 1-800-414-0471.

Community Response to Gifts of Light

Last year, 1,100 people purchased Gifts of Light, raising more than $100,000. CAMH was able to provide gifts for more than 600 people hospitalized at CAMH over the holidays. All of the gifts were wrapped and delivered by volunteers.

"When I think of all the money we spend over the holidays and the unnecessary shopping sprees, I can tell you that being a spokesperson for Gifts of Light, purchasing these gifts for my friends and family, and then having the privilege of being able to deliver some of the gifts - this is by far, the most profound of my holiday memories."

About Valerie Pringle

Ms. Pringle knows first-hand the challenges of a family facing mental illness. Her daughter, Catherine, now 29 years old, used to panic before high school exams; the problem grew in university where she would sob endlessly prior to exams. When she finished school and landed a fast-paced job as a press secretary for a leading politician, Catherine had an episode that left her in bed for weeks. The Pringles turned to CAMH for help. With treatment, Catherine is now doing well and is able to cope with her panic and anxiety attacks. She, too, is a spokesperson for the Gifts of Light and is an active mental health advocate.

"The fact is that each of us in some way, at some point in our lives, is affected by mental health or addictions," Ms. Pringle said. "For more than a century, mental illness has been nothing but shame and ignorance. The issue has been in the darkness for too long. That is what makes Gifts of Lights so special - it is a chance for each of us to show that we will not tolerate stigma, and that we support those recovering from mental health and addictions."

A broadcaster with CBC and formerly with Canada AM, Ms. Pringle is also a longstanding volunteer for the CAMH Foundation, where she sits on the Board, and is a member of the Transforming Lives Capital Campaign cabinet.

About CAMH

CAMH is one of the leading addiction and mental health organizations in North America and Canada's largest mental health and addictions teaching hospital. Integrating clinical care, scientific research, education, policy development and health promotion, CAMH helps transform the lives of people impacted by mental health and addiction issues.

For more information, please visit

Follow us on Twitter @endstigma

To view the photos associated with this release, please visit the following links:

To view the video associated with this release, please visit the following link:

Contact Information