Sunnybrook Foundation is very thankful to have so many supportive donors. Our donor spotlight is a place to recognize just a few of these supporters and to tell their amazing stories.
Toronto Professional Fire Fighters’ Association
Thanks to the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters' Association, Sunnybrook's Ross Tilley Burn Centre will soon be equipped with new devices to monitor burn patient status more effectively.
"As firefighters, we see the devastation fire causes and we want to help mitigate that as much as possible," says Ed Kennedy, association president. "It's a long journey for people who have been injured by fire and we want to help not just at the scene, but also at the hospital."
The association has donated more than $600,000 to Sunnybrook over the past several years, including $40,000 to the Ross Tilley Burn Centre last December. The gift covers the cost of pur-chasing two pulse contour cardiac output (PiCCO) devices, novel monitoring equipment that measures crucial data regarding heart rate, heart function and vascular status via a non-invasive method (thermo dilution).
"The PiCCO enables information flow," says Dr. Marc Jeschke, medical director of the Ross Tilley Burn Centre. "It's like flying an airplane. Flying successfully and safely means knowing the
data and what's going on around you."
Dr. Jeschke credits community support for helping to deliver comprehensive care at the burn centre, which has seen the number of patients it treats annually rise to about 250 from 150.
"None of this would have been possible without donor support," Dr. Jeschke says. "We are very grateful for the firefighters' generosity."
The association also donated $17,500 to Sunnybrook's Louise Temerty Breast Cancer Centre in December. The centre, which will open in April, will provide expanded facilities for breast cancer care, including rapid breast cancer diagnosis, and allow greater collaboration in research and clinical trials.
Michael and Marilena Latifi, and the Sofina & Amici Golf Classic
|Michael and Marilena Latifi
It started as a golf tournament and grew into a gift of more than $1 million toward care for Ontario's tiniest patients.
The Sofina & Amici Golf Classic, hosted since 2008 by Sofina Foods Inc., has raised more than $1.2 million for Sunnybrook's state-of-the-art Women & Babies facility, which opened in September 2010.
"I am indebted to my family, friends and loyal suppliers who generously support our initiative year after year," says Michael Latifi, Sofina chairman and CEO. "It is through their support that we have been able to deliver beyond all our expectations."
The tournament was started with a goal of raising $50,000 each year. It turned out to be a hit from the start, raising over $200,000 in 2008 alone. The secret has been treating participants to a day beyond their expectations. Tournament organizers stayed true to their mission to make this an over-the-top day of indulgence, never compromising on details or the small touches that make the tournament a unique experience for our guests.
"This kind of private support is needed if Sunnybrook is to accomplish its goals," says Dr. Jon S. Dellandrea, Sunnybrook Foundation's president and CEO. "We're very grateful for Sofina, for the Sofina & Amici Golf Classic and for everyone who's ever swung a golf club at this tournament. Each and every participant is truly having an impact on the care we offer our patients."
Liam MacInnis remembers when his grandmother lost her battle to cancer more than six years ago.
"She had a bunch of cancers," he says. "It was really sad for me; I was in junior kindergarten."
Now in Grade 6, the 11-year-old Stouffville, Ont. boy is feeling much better, especially after donating $150 to Sunnybrook's Odette Cancer Centre in honour of "Grandma MacInnis" and Danny Kyriazis, a good friend of his parents. Both were Sunnybrook patients.
Danny died of cancer two weeks after Liam's birthday on Aug. 2. The two never met.
For his birthday party, Liam asked for donations from friends instead of gifts. It's something his brother, Nolan, 12, did a year ago when he donated to the Breast Cancer Society of Canada.
"So I wanted to do that, too," Liam says. "My friends were a little surprised that I didn't want gifts, but they thought it was a good idea. I hope the money will go to help people with cancer and make their lives better."
Liam's mother, Karen Smiley-MacInnis, says the kids who came to the party were great.
"A few parents told me they thought it was a very selfless cause," she says, adding their school's focus last year was "Make a Difference", which also saw Liam organizing a bracelet sale at his hockey tournament in March to raise money for Free the Children.
Liam says he really likes raising money for charities and hopes to do more in the future.
Louise and Jim Temerty
|Louise and Jim Temerty
Sunnybrook will be home to Canada's largest breast cancer centre in April 2013, thanks to a transformational $10-million gift from Jim and Louise Temerty.
The gift establishes the Louise Temerty Breast Cancer Centre, which will house Sunnybrook's leading-edge Breast Program. The centre's Rapid Diagnosis Unit will offer potential breast cancer patients a diagnosis and treatment plan within just 24 hours of assessment, eliminating current wait times of up to six weeks for such life-saving answers.
"Breast cancer patients have traditionally been put through a terrible waiting period for results. That wait can wear a person down - but not anymore," says Jim Temerty. "The Rapid Diagnosis Unit will diagnose women quickly so they can get started on treatment early. This centre is going to save lives, and I'm proud to play a role in its creation."
The need for top-notch - and fast - breast cancer care in Ontario resonates strongly with the Temerty family. Louise had accompanied a close friend to her many breast cancer treatments, often spending the day with her at Sunnybrook, and says that waiting for answers was often the hardest part.
Thanks to the family's support, the centre will revolutionize breast cancer care, imaging and research in Canada. The centre's Breast Program - the largest in the country - will provide tailored programming to a diverse patient population.
After a skating mishap sent Max Rother to Sunnybrook's emergency department with a broken wrist, the then-13-year-old decided it may be a worthy place to donate a portion of his bar mitzvah gifts.
"It's tradition to give away a portion of the gifts you receive, and I was thinking of a good cause to support," Max says.
And when he checked out Sunnybrook.ca and learned that our trauma department is raising funds to put a helipad on the roof of M-Wing, he knew it was the right place to lend his support.
"I really enjoy aviation as a hobby and hope to make it a career," Max says. "I love to watch the helicopters and sometimes ride my bike over to see them land and take off."
Right now, our helipad is located about 500 metres away from the trauma room. Paramedics and trauma staff have to coordinate with a land ambulance to transfer patients from the helicopter to the trauma room. This adds about 10 minutes to treating a medical crisis where every second counts.
Sunnybrook's plan is to build a state-of-the-art helipad on top of the hospital. Once in service, patients will be transferred from the roof to the trauma room via an elevator, providing our trauma teams with more time to save lives.
The project is being funded entirely by generous donors like Max, who gave $2,000 earlier this year.
"This helipad will save lives and it will help a lot of people," he says. "I know how important this is."
Frederick W. Thompson
|Frederick W. Thompson
Sunnybrook will offer specialized obsessive compulsive disorder care not found anywhere else in Canada, thanks to a transformational $10-million gift from Toronto businessman Frederick W. Thompson.
"It's unfortunate that mental health doesn't get enough attention, because it's important that people have the best support possible," said Mr. Thompson.
The gift - the largest ever private donation to anxiety disorders with a focus on OCD - will be used to establish the Frederick W. Thompson Anxiety Disorders Centre at Sunnybrook, which will help patients recover from often-debilitating disorders with dignity. Patients will receive multidisciplinary and compassionate care, and the centre will attract international experts to collaborate with Sunnybrook's world-class scientists.
Mr. Thompson says he looks forward to seeing the centre's impact on the world stage.
"I hope the centre helps create a greater awareness of these devastating disorders, opens doors in treatment that have so far remained closed due to lack of funding, and that it inspires people toward their own philanthropy," said Mr. Thompson.
"This gift makes a bold statement and represents a real turning point in the research and treatment of anxiety disorders - and for that we're very grateful," said Dr. Peggy Richter, director of Sunnybrook's Clinic for OCD and Related Disorders.
|Philip Leong, Jennifer Tory and Grace Leong
For Philip Leong, supporting Sunnybrook is an enormous thank you for a number of things. First, it recognizes the gratitude he feels for the care his son Clement received after being born prematurely 14 years ago. Clement was born three months early, weighed just 2 lbs. and spent considerable time in the neonatal intensive care unit.
“The nurses really cared about each baby’s important life, and they were very professional. I was so impressed by the care and by the professionalism by the doctors and the nurses,” says Leong. “They do more than just their job, and that’s important.”
But his $250,000-gift is also a thank you to Canada as a whole for providing Leong with a quality education and rewarding career after he moved here permanently from Macau, China, in 1987. Leong is now a vice-president and director with RBC Dominion Securities Inc. “It’s very simple,” explains Leong. “I just want to do my part as a citizen and be part of the community. I’m giving what humble contribution I can to allow the hospital to continue its service to the community.”
Leong has supported other health care and education institutions, as well as initiatives within Canada’s Chinese community. He says the exemplary care Sunnybrook provides for the province’s premature babies is a natural fit for his philanthropy. “I just want to show my support for Sunnybrook; every day there are premature babies receiving services here,” says Leong. “And Canada is a great country and has given me a lot of opportunity as an immigrant. It’s all about Canada.”
Honor Nivin's connection to Sunnybrook goes back a long, long time.
As a young girl in the early 1950s, she remembers watching Princess Elizabeth (not yet queen) and Prince Philip as they travelled along Blythwood Road in an open convertible, waving to the crowds as they approached Sunnybrook Veterans Hospital for a royal visit.
Since then, the connection has grown. Honor's mother volunteered at Sunnybrook's gift shop in the 1960s and her father received prostate cancer care here. Honor, too, has been a Sunnybrook patient, overcoming breast cancer six years ago.
She has been a regular Sunnybrook volunteer for five years, coming here twice a week to lend her hand at the Odette Cancer Centre and outpatient surgery. "I enjoy it, and I feel good because of volunteering," Honor says.
For a variety of reasons, including her ongoing desire to help Sunnybrook patients and to honour her parents, she has chosen to donate to innovative research at Sunnybrook, in particular Dr. Juan Carlos Zúñiga-Pflücker's cutting-edge work with stem cells. Dr. Zúñiga-Pflücker and his team have developed a way to direct unspecified human stem cells into becoming progenitor (or early) T cells, which then give rise to mature T cells, an essential ingredient in immune system reconstitution.
Honor describes Dr. Zúñiga-Pflücker as an accomplished and talented scientist, adding that research is an area that needs more attention from donors.
Honor looks forward to continuing her involvement and watching Sunnybrook grow as a leading Canadian health sciences centre. "I'm always staggered by the number of people that are now being seen in this whole complex," she says.
When John Pludra set out to build a legacy for his wife Brenda Loder, he found she already had one -one of great friendship, strength and generosity.
When Brenda died in 2009 after a long battle with brain cancer, her mother Ruth wished aloud to John that there was something to carry on her memory. Due to complications of Brenda's illness, she and John were unable to have children.
After some discussion among close friends, it was decided they'd fundraise in Brenda's honour.
So "Bren's Friends" hosted garage sales, raffles and a pub night - Newfoundland-style in tribute to Brenda's home province - to raise money for brain cancer research.
In just one year, Bren's Friends collected nearly $40,000. The response overwhelmed John.
"One thing we learned in this process was just how much Brenda touched the lives of her friends and family," John said. "We pulled together for her memory and achieved in one year what we expected would take three. This spirit is Brenda's legacy."
The funds raised by Bren's Friends will support brain research at Sunnybrook under the direction of Dr. James Perry.
"We always had a warm welcome from the great team at Sunnybrook," John says. "This donation is also a way of saying thank you for everything they did during Brenda's illness - and for what they will be doing for those who will come through the doors of the hospital."
"But, there's nothing I would like more than to run into Dr. Perry in years to come, and have him tell me he had to retire early because no one gets sick from cancer anymore."
Gelato Cup Golf Tournament
The Gelato Cup Golf Tournament's pledge of $3 million toward our new rooftop helipad will mean critically ill and injured patients will reach our care sooner.
The members of the Gelato Cup Golf board of directors have set their sights high – way up on the roof of Sunnybrook, where the Gelato Cup Golf helipad will soon be built.
"When we heard that the current helipad is a half a kilometre away from the trauma room, we knew we had to step up and lend a hand," said Jim V. De Gasperis, one of the event's founders. "The Gelato Cup Golf helipad on the roof of the M-Wing will ensure that the most critically ill and injured patients in Ontario get the medical care they need as fast as possible."
The board has made a $3-million pledge to build the helipad, which will give trauma patients arriving by helicopter the best possible chance for survival. The new helipad will shave minutes off a trauma patient's journey where every second counts.
"We are so honoured and proud to make this landmark commitment to Sunnybrook," De Gasperis said. "Thanks to the support of the Gelato Cup Golf Tournament participants and sponsors, we will help Sunnybrook doctors and staff save lives."
The Gelato Cup Golf Tournament began over a decade ago. The popular event - known for its fabulous food and entertainment - has already raised more than $1 million and supported many Sunnybrook programs. This April, the Gelato Cup Golf Early Detection Centre welcomed its first patients.
Internationally renowned recording star John McDermott gives back to Sunnybrook
McDermott's House pledge will refurbish Sunnybrook's palliative
care unit, giving new hope to patients in the final stages of a terminal
For the last 5 years, internationally renowned singer John McDermott has offered an annual private holiday concert for Sunnybrook veterans and their families. But this year, he's also pledging a transformative $3.6 million gift to refurbish the palliative care unit at Sunnybrook.
Located in the Veterans Centre, McDermott House Canada
will be the touchstone of excellence in palliative care, offering an
unique, expanded environment with amenities for veterans, military,
first responders (fire, police and paramedics) and their families, as
well as for community patients.
"It has long been John's dream to establish a McDermott House in Canada," says Trudy Eagan, also a vice-president of McDermott House Canada. "He believes strongly in giving back to the community, and that's exactly what this commitment is all about."
Through his most recent CD Journeys, and tour across Canada this holiday season, John has been raising awareness and funds for McDermott House Canada.
Passionately committed to veterans and all who serve, McDermott was
recently awarded the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation Award in
General (Ret'd) Rick Hiller is the honorary chair of this special initiative.
New board member champions research and honours Sunnybrook surgeon
Gift to complete funding for the Hanna Family Chair in Surgical Oncology Research will benefit patients everywhere
This June, the newest Sunnybrook Board member and long-time donor, Blake Goldring, made a gift that will free up funding for cancer research as well as honouring one of the Hospital's most accomplished surgical oncologists, Dr. Sherif Hanna.
"Hospitals need research opportunities to attract and retain the next generation of medical experts," Goldring explains. "I'm honoured to make a tangible investment in a better research environment, and to help recognize one of our greatest surgeons."
Goldring's donation completes the donor investment required to fully fund the Hanna Family Chair in Surgical Oncology Research which now stands at $3 million. For years to come, the income generated by the Chair will support research into cancers of the breast, colon, liver and pancreas.
With Goldring's gift, the University of Toronto will approve the use of the Chair's income to support a full-time, internationally competitive oncologist to direct the research. In the coming months, the inaugural chair holder will be identified, appointed and begin serving a five-year term.
The Hanna Family Chair in Surgical Oncology Research was established when a number of Dr. Hanna's friends, family and patients joined forces to create a fund named in his honour to recognize his outstanding care. It is Dr. Hanna's vision that the Chair's focus will alternate between breast, colorectal and liver/pancreas cancers, so that funds will equally benefit a wide range of patients.
In addition to earning the devotion of his patients, Dr. Hanna has won the admiration of his colleagues, explains Goldring.
"Sherif has become a mentor to many because of his skill, integrity, empathy and his total dedication to his patients. I have enormous respect for him as a person, and for his incredible accomplishments and professionalism."
Goldring's respect for Dr. Hanna inspired him to honour the man he's known for more than a decade. His decision to make a gift to complete the Chair's funding was also influenced by a deep appreciation of the work done at Sunnybrook.
"As the newest director on Sunnybrook's Board, I have been struck by the focus on providing world-class care, from every staff member and for every patient," stresses Goldring.
"When you're dealing with physical health, you recognize the magic
of what the doctors and staff here do every day. That magic, combined
with the Hospital's research excellence, make it an outstanding model of
how medical care should be delivered."
Oatley, Vigmond LLP
The partners at Oatley, Vigmond LLP have a unique perspective on caring for patients. From bedside to boardroom, they have worked with hundreds of Sunnybrook patients to help them access the care and resources they would need long after their hospital stay ends.
Over the years, they have continually been amazed by the quality of care offered at Sunnybrook and the professionalism of our teams of physicians, nurses and social workers.
Advocating for patients with traumatic brain injuries is a special area of interest for the firm, which has worked with many such patients in our Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic. One day, the firm learned that the clinic's funding was in jeopardy.
"We couldn't stand by and watch such an important community resource disappear," says Roger Oatley, one of the firm's partners. "Patients with brain injuries are at a very real risk of falling through the cracks, and the clinic at Sunnybrook is one of very few resources with the specialized expertise to help them." Oatley, Vigmond responded immediately by financially supporting the clinic and encouraging another firm, McLeish Orlando LLP, to do the same.
Now, the clinic continues to treat patients. "We were in a perfect position to understand and appreciate how important this clinic is for patients," says Roger. "It was our pleasure to invest in its future."
McLeish Orlando LLP
When the partners at McLeish Orlando LLP received a call from fellow law firm, Oatley, Vigmond LLP, urging them to help support Sunnybrook's Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic, John McLeish and Dale Orlando didn't think twice about lending a hand.
Since then, McLeish Orlando has supported Sunnybrook many times because the partners feel that Sunnybrook's physicians, nurses and social workers provide care that is second to none.
"It's astonishing to see what Sunnybrook does for its patients," says John. "Patients often arrive at the hospital unconscious and dependent on life support. Their lives are in very real danger. When we see them later, alert and capable of speaking, it's like night and day. We see these success stories all the time."
John knows first-hand that Sunnybrook offers patients first-class care. He has been a patient at Sunnybrook, and the care he received vastly exceeded his expectations.
"Sunnybrook does not get all the resources it needs from the public sector to do the incredible job it does," states John. "Dale and I feel it is essential for the business and legal communities to support the hospital, no matter what the economy is doing. In fact, in tough economic times, giving is more important than ever."
John Aquino of Bondfield Construction knows more than anyone what it takes to build a hospital - quite literally. "We do construction projects throughout the GTA, including ones at Sunnybrook. As soon as I started working on these sites, I knew I wanted to be part of building Sunnybrook in more ways than one." This is why Bondfield Construction, a family business owned and operated by John, his brother Steve and their father, Ralph, financially supports Sunnybrook.
"This is my community. I know a lot of people who have been cared for at Sunnybrook, and they have always spoken so highly of the care they received," says John. "A lot of people don't know that Sunnybrook serves Ontario, not just Toronto. There are a lot of people throughout our province who depend on Sunnybrook for specialized care when it's really needed."
John sees this first-hand. Building hospitals is an area of expertise for Bondfield Construction, so the family behind the company is in a unique position to see how upgrades to Sunnybrook's aging infrastructure are essential to patient care.
"Building for the future of a hospital this size is a massive undertaking," notes John. "It takes many gifts from many donors to make it happen. We're so pleased to be part of that."
Bay Street Fore a Cau$e
For Shayne Kukulowicz and his colleagues on the Bay Street Fore a Cau$e committee, real results are what count. The group of 25 Bay Street professionals, who pool their resources to make a real impact, embody the idea of the power of many.
Their annual golf tournament, now in its sixth year, has raised funds for a number of children's causes in Toronto. Six years ago, Sunnybrook was the inaugural beneficiary of the event, and in 2008 Bay Street Fore a Cau$e returned to support the construction of a labour and delivery suite in Sunnybrook's new Women & Babies facility.
"We all have a connection to Sunnybrook in some way," Shayne explains. "A number of my colleagues on the committee have had babies there, so the Women & Babies Program was a natural fit with our goals.
"It's important to us that our support has a real impact," continues Shayne. "We all know that Sunnybrook's medical expertise is unrivalled. We believe that by helping to build this new facility we will be making the best investment we can in the health of Toronto's youngest patients."
Mr. Schulich's Challenge
Thanks to the ambitious fundraising efforts of donors across the GTA, Mr. Schulich's match was completed. Combined with $5 million previously raised, $25 million is now available to begin construction on the new, world-class, technologically advanced Schulich Heart Centre.
"I'm impressed by the people who rallied around my challenge," says Mr. Schulich. "Sunnybrook can't deliver world-class innovations in cardiac care without the support of private donors. In this tough economic climate, this achievement is quite remarkable."
The centrepiece of this project will be the Dr. Brian W. Gilbert Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit, a state-of-the-art unit to replace the one built over 40 years ago. Named to honour the chief of the Schulich Heart Centre, this new facility will set national standards for patient care, feature the most modern medical equipment, and ensure the best outcomes for patients.
Mr. Schulich's challenge mobilized many.
"The response was overwhelming," says Dr. Barry McLellan, president and CEO of Sunnybrook. "I think of the husband and wife who heard about Mr. Schulich's challenge, and took a bus to the hospital to give us $20. That kind of support is humbling."
Ziba Mizrahi first got involved in philanthropy in her native Iran, building orphanages and supporting social programs for young people.
In the 1970s, Ziba and her family immigrated to Canada and settled close to Sunnybrook. "We moved to Canada because of its education system. It is conflict-free and we felt a true sense of community," explains Ziba. "My family also felt very fortunate to have a world-class medical centre right in our backyard. And, on the rare occasion that we needed to access the hospital for care, it was always exceptional.
"My friend, Isa Ho, told me about her fundraising efforts for the Schulich Heart Centre expansion and I wanted to get involved," says Ziba. "I believe it's important for me to give back, especially when it offers tremendous benefits to the community.
"My hope is that my gift will ensure all patients at the Schulich Heart Centre receive the most innovative care in a facility that improves their quality of life," says Ziba.
"I feel very blessed that my children Sam, Jan, Katrin and Sia are also involved in philanthropy," says Ziba. "They appreciate the importance of giving back and it's reflected in the organizations they support and in how they treat others."
"My family has received excellent care at Sunnybrook," says Joel Feldberg, president and COO of The Global Group. "Both my mother and grandmother were treated at the Schulich Heart Centre. I had spinal surgery at Sunnybrook and my wife will give birth there in a few months.
"What has really stood out to us is how well the medical staff responds to our family and the tremendous care that was provided to my mother and grandmother," remarks Joel. "We developed a very close relationship with the staff at the centre and we wanted to support the cause.
The Feldbergs have made a generous donation in support of the Schulich Heart Centre expansion.
"We would like our support to expand the facility and its medical techniques beyond what is currently available," says Joel. "This will help Sunnybrook maintain its reputation as an internationally renowned centre for heart care.
"People's lives are touched by the hospital," states Joel. "Community support ensures that Sunnybrook will be there for future generations, but more importantly, it provides the sustenance that's needed to guarantee that the hospital is on the forefront of medical innovations."
In 1969, David Lam immigrated to Toronto from Hong Kong and enrolled in the business program at Queen's University. Upon graduation, David established Tai Foong International Ltd., one of North America's leading seafood importers.
"My family and I have had great success in Canada. We have committed ourselves to supporting the Schulich Heart Centre to create an innovative facility that's on the cutting edge of patient care," says David.
David is a member of the Schulich Heart Centre Honorary Patrons Council and made a generous donation towards the expansion and renovation of the centre.
"My father was 91 when he passed away at Sunnybrook," says David. "He was well cared for by the medical team and was treated with dignity and respect during his lengthy illness.
"Over the last year I have learned more about Sunnybrook and I feel privileged that I can support this hospital," says David. "I have visited the Schulich Heart Centre and I'm thrilled that my support, combined with the efforts of others, will meet this urgent and critical need to advance patient care."