February 2, 2012
Denyse Conant’s Legacy
Story and Photo by Cat Cutillo
For what would have been Denyse Conant’s 54th birthday, her best friend, Kim Jennings, sister, Daphne Dulude, and nieces set out to donate 54 stuffed animals to the children at Lund. They well surpassed their goal, delivering close to 150 toys.
“Denyse was like the older sister I wish I had,” said Kim Jennings, Denyse’s friend who organized the collection. “It made sense to reach out to Lund because the kind of work [Lund does] was so close to Denyse’s heart. She understood the value of strong family connections, and was passionate about children—in fact, I think she adored them more than anyone I know.”
Denyse was a dedicated volunteer to Lund who brought so much life and joy to the entire organization and the development office where she volunteered every Friday.
“Her keen organizational skills were an incredible gift to the Development Department but were no match to the warmth, energy and light she brought with her every time she volunteered,” says Kitty Bartlett, Lund’s Annual Giving Coordinator, who worked closely with Denyse.
Even in Denyse’s passing last October, she inspired philanthropy. In lieu of flowers, her family asked people to make donations to both Colchester Parks and Recreation Department and Lund
“Several times after Denyse’s death, [her husband] Chris remarked how much Denyse enjoyed her time [at Lund], and how much strength it gave back to her, as she was fighting her fight,” remembers Kim.
The stuffed animals are going to be used for adoption finalization gifts over the next year and given to each child who has found a forever home. Those who work at Lund say that the stuffed animals will bring comfort to 150 children, and Denyse will be a permanent piece of building each of these new families.
“Denyse’s name and what she believed in with family and children will continue to be carried out thru these adoption stuffed animals with these children,” says Lund’s Adoption Director Wanda Audette. “The kids hang onto these stuffed animals and they mean something to them for the rest of their lives.”