Stephen’s story

“Mom, I’ve decided to stop receiving treatments.” Those are shattering words for any parent to hear.

For Doreen Forester, her son Stephen was HIV positive and his immune system was breaking down rapidly. Stephen was rushed to St. Michael’s with fluid in his lungs and spent a week in quarantine to try and boost his immune system.

On days when Doreen couldn’t make the drive into the city from Rockwood she would call the nurses on Stephen’s floor and could always count on a friendly update. Both mother and son were impressed with the compassionate care Stephen received in intensive care until he was well enough to go to Casey House.

“When I put my new will together, I decided that half of my estate would go to St. Michael’s.”
– Doreen Forester

On another occasion when Stephen was rushed to a different hospital for emergency care he later told his mother, “If I ever have to go back to the hospital, I want to go back to St. Michael’s because that’s where I get the best care.”

Stephen had to return to St. Michael’s for periods up to two weeks at a time. “He was never as happy as when he was among his new family at St. Michael’s,” recalls Doreen. “The friendly staff made his emotionally draining treatments all the more bearable.”

When Stephen made the difficult decision to cease his treatment program, it was very hard for friends and family to accept. Stephen’s treating physician was very respectful of his decision. Stephen passed away four months later.

“When I put my new will together, I decided that half of my estate would go to St. Michael’s,” Doreen adds. “It would have gone to Stephen, but St. Mike’s is where he received such excellent care.”

An estate or planned gift is probably the most meaningful gift most of us will be able to make. To find out more, contact Sandra Smith, Philanthropy Officer, Gift Planning, 416-864-6060 ext. 2044 or

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