Candice Grube Wright was just 20 years old and embarking on a new job when a collision took her life almost a year ago. Next weekend in Maryhill, family will honour her life with a fundraiser that recognizes the young woman’s passion for helping others.
The Atwood woman and her sister Beverly, 15 at the time, were walking to the Listowel Fair on July 17, 2011 when they were struck from behind by car. Beverly suffered only minor injuries, but Candice died at the scene.
“She was on the outside so she got the brunt of the hit: she was killed instantly. Her sister just had scratches and stitches here and there, she wasn’t seriously injured. Just a driver not looking at the road, and he hit them,” explained her mother, Loretta Wright.
Since losing Candice last summer, Loretta and her husband Will Wright started thinking about a tribute to their child, opting for a memorial fundraiser with proceeds going to KidsAbility, a development centre for children with disabilities.
“She was always helping kids out with Girl Guides and we figured it would be a good idea to raise some money for KidsAbility in her memory,” said Will Wright, whose band will be playing at the event July 21.
In advance, stay-at-home mom Loretta has been trying to spread the word, answering what must be difficult questions about her daughter. Her daughter, she said, enjoyed volunteering, charity and extracurricular activities that included a long-standing passion for working with children. A dedicated Girl Guide leader, Candice was a recent high school graduate with a rewarding full-time job at a local nursing home.
“She loved her job; she always talked about how much she loved her work. I didn’t hear any complaints out of her. Actually, you didn’t hear too many complaints out of her about anything – she was a pretty happy-go-lucky kid,” she said.
Plans for a fundraiser in her name began to take shape last year after Candice’s funeral, following an initial suggestion from Will Wright’s father. Family connections and Candice’s love of working with kids made the organization an obvious choice for a donation born out of loss and a talent for music. Wright’s niece spent a couple of years at KidsAbility and the family thought the organization would make the best out of any donations generated by the fundraiser. Wanting to get back together with his country rock group, Will will be playing on stage in honour of Candice at Maryhill Place on Charles Street East at 8 p.m. on July 21.
The significance of this date was serendipitous for Loretta. While trying to schedule a time that would be convenient for family and friends, she realized something poignant about the day of the fundraiser:
“There wasn’t [a significance] at first when we booked it, but I just recently realized, that was the day we buried her. We were looking at closer to a day of the accident but this was the only weekend that everybody was free.”
With a diploma and a full-time job Candice had already moved away from home. But at the Wrights’ large country property, surrounded by fields and trees, hangs the most recent framed photo of Candice. Softly lit and leaning against a wall with her two small dogs, Candice smiles widely at the camera. Wright still checks up periodically on her daughter’s pets, recently learning from Candice’s roommate that one of them had passed away.
After speaking with the Wright family, KidsAbility offered to create posters for the event that will showcase the Wright Family Band.
“We’re just hoping to raise a lot of money for KidsAbility. That’s all we’re looking to do,” Wright said.