A Legacy that Makes a Difference

Brian Campbell wants to be remembered as a decent person who did good things for others. “Isn’t that what we all want?” he asks. “That’s what I hope my legacy will be.”

A joint owner of Glen Manor Galleries, an antiques shop in Shakespeare, Ontario, Brian recently made a planned gift to St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation. He is a grateful patient and credits St. Michael’s with saving his life.

Brian became a patient of Dr. Charlie Guiang’s—a staff physician in the Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM) at St. Michael’s Health Centre at 410 Sherbourne Street in—2003. Over the years, the two have developed a wonderful rapport, with Brian praising Dr. Guiang as someone who “goes over and above” in his care.

A particular moment when Dr. Guiang went beyond the call of duty to help stands out to Brian.

In 2009, when he suddenly lost sight in his left eye, Brian rushed to see an ophthalmologist near his home in Stratford, Ontario. After undergoing various scans and being prescribed numerous medications, the cause of his sudden vision loss remained a mystery. The ophthalmologist told Brian he had exhausted all available tests and treatments, and recommended he undergo “exploratory brain surgery” at a hospital in London, Ontario, to try to find out what had caused his vision loss.

Devastated and distraught, Brian asked the ophthalmologist about the likelihood of losing sight in his other eye. “He said—and I’ll never forget this—‘As far as I’m concerned, you’ll be blind by the end of the week,’” remembers Brian. “And that was the end of it. The doctor walked out of the room and left me there.”

The ophthalmologist’s poor bedside manner and lack of compassion left Brian traumatized. With the thought of going blind looming over him, each day became a struggle to control his mounting fear and anxiety. When Dr. Guiang got word of the critical situation however, he intervened and made Brian an appointment to get a second opinion from another ophthalmologist.

“I found out it was a misdiagnosis!” exclaims Brian. “I didn’t go [completely] blind. It turned out to be something that was fairly common actually: retrobulbar neuritis.” Retrobulbar neuritis is a form of optic neuritis in which the optic nerve at the back of the eye becomes inflamed, causing pain and temporary vision loss. While Brian still has difficulty seeing out of his left eye, he is able to drive and continues to get reexamined by his ophthalmologist every six months.

As a result, he is incredibly thankful for the high level of compassion and care both Dr. Guiang and Margaret Howell, a nurse at the 410 Sherbourne clinic, showed him during this difficult time. “They were incredible,” he says. “It was a totally different attitude and approach [to care]. They treated me well—I had a call once or twice a day from them every day that week. The treatment that I’ve had here is the reason why I have included St. Mike’s in my will.”

Brian’s bequest is designated to the Laurie Malone Patient Comfort Fund at St. Michael’s. Established by the DFCM in 1977, the Patient Comfort Fund helps patients in the hospital’s Inner City Health program meet their basic needs. For instance, the Fund helps cover the costs of medication and transportation to medical appointments, provides patients with food vouchers and supplements, as well as clothing, shoes and assistive devices, such as canes, hearing aids and eyeglasses.

Brian hopes his legacy gift will make a difference by giving less fortunate patients access to the same level of care he has been fortunate to receive at St. Michael’s.

The treatment that I’ve had here is the reason why I have included St. Mike’s in my will. — Brian Campbell

To learn more about how you can leave a gift in your will, please contact Sandra Smith, Philanthropy Officer, Gift Planning at St. Michael’s Foundation at 416.864.6060, ext. 2044 or SmithSan@smh.ca.

Note: Brian would also like to acknowledge St. Michael’s Drs. Asim Cheema, Interventional Cardiologist and Molly Zirkle, Otolaryngologist for the exceptional care they have also provided him over the years.