Easing the Way for Others

Kristine Thompson has an enduring affiliation with St. Michael’s that spans more than four decades and has seen her transition from a valued employee to a dedicated volunteer and donor.

Kristine began working at St. Michael’s Hospital in the early 1970s as Assistant Director of Nutrition, under the leadership of Sister Roberta Freeman. She progressed to the role of Director of Dietetics, before completing an MBA. Following graduation, Kristine moved into a more senior role at St. Michael’s, becoming Assistant Executive Director of Clinical Services.

She spent a total of 15 years working here as part of her career in health care administration, but maintains she has always kept a “very soft spot” for St. Michael’s.

“I’m really pleased that my early start at St. Michael’s set my course in terms of a focus on patient-centred care,” she says. “St. Michael’s is a very special place to work and I really enjoyed my time here. We always learned to put the patients first—even before ‘patient-centred care’ became a buzz word. That’s why I was interested in volunteering here after I retired.”

In 2006, Kristine returned to St. Michael’s as a volunteer. While she assisted in various areas across the hospital, Kristine always brought a focus on compassionate care and patient-centredness to every role.

Today, Kristine volunteers in the Trauma and Neurosurgery Intensive Care Unit (TNICU) on a weekly basis, where she acts as a liaison between the ICU’s visitors and staff. “I like it because it’s a satisfying role,” she says. “To be a liaison between the visitors—who are a bit intimidated by the whole environment of an ICU, but also worried for their family member and anxious about asking questions—and the staff, is both important and helpful. It puts family members at ease and lessens the workload burden of the nurses and physicians.”

Kristine is also a volunteer member of St. Michael’s Ethics Committee, and sits on the Advisory Committee for one of Dr. Sharon Straus’s research projects.

“I’m really pleased to keep my connection with St. Michael’s alive to this day,” she says. “Whether one is a volunteer or a donor, you try to enhance the success of the hospital. Because I don’t have children to raise and coach, and work towards their well-being, volunteering and donating are two ways of accomplishing that for me.”

Giving back is how Kristine tries “to ease the way for others, and that happens both through giving your time and your money.”

Along with her husband, Ivor, Kristine recently decided to make a planned gift to St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation by including a bequest in their will.

“I think it’s important to have a plan with what you do with your estate,” she says. “You want to give money where you know that it’s going to do lasting good, and that’s why legacy giving is important. After all, when we’re gone from this earth, what would we like to leave behind? It’s a legacy of caring.”

Kristine made her legacy gift unrestricted so that it can one day go toward the areas of greatest need of St. Michael’s Hospital.

You want to give money where you know that it’s going to do lasting good, and that’s why legacy giving is important. — Kristine Thompson

To learn more about how you can leave a gift in your will, please contact Cynthia Collantes, Director, Gift Planning at St. Michael’s Foundation at 416.864.5879 or CollantesC@smh.ca.