Model of Philanthropy

Originally from Egypt, Afrah came to Canada in the 1980’s. With a degree in business, she has worked in advertising and marketing, and jobs always related to fashion. But you have no doubt seen her without realizing it because she has also had an extensive career as a model, in fashion shows, print advertising, and appearing in commercials, on television. As a model she has travelled all over the world, while continuing to have what her mother calls “a real job” in sales and marketing, and today still appears in a few fashion shows a year.

Afrah’s relationship with St. Michael’s began several years ago when she needed to have a mammogram. She came to the hospital to see Dr. Robert Mustard, now retired. Then, about five years ago, because she had some respiratory problems, her doctor recommended that she see Dr. Victor Hoffstein. He is, Afrah says, “a fantastic Doctor – a great listener, patient and genuinely caring person.”

Since then, she says “I've been to the hospital a few times and I never had a bad experience. I came to the Emergency once and everybody was very helpful from the person who checked me in and nurse, then the doctor, everybody was very kind.” St. Michael’s has truly become her hospital: “I think the doctors of the hospital have dealt with most parts of my body,” she says. Because of the care she received, Afrah is an annual donor to St. Michael’s and is intending to put St. Michael’s in her will.

I trust St. Michael’s. I live in Yorkville and there are several hospitals within walking distance, but if anything happens I come here. — Afrah Gouda

Education and research are clearly important to Afrah as she came from an academic family. That family includes an engineer brother, and another who is an author-lecturer in British Columbia who holds a PhD in chemistry, a sister who is head mistress of a high school in Egypt and nephews and nieces who are Doctors, engineers and in journalism. Because of this keen interest, she also attends our Legacy of Caring seminars, which feature St. Michael’s physicians and scientists and outline the latest in health-care developments. Afrah says “I have learned a lot and I have been passing the knowledge on. I think it’s a great idea to hold those seminars with different doctors to educate people about the latest in discovery and research. For example, I have learned about Dr. Neeru Gupta, who in 2009 was able to lead the search to discover the lymphatic system in the eyes. That was something that was never known before anywhere in the world. She was awarded for it in 2012. She is an incredibly brilliant Doctor."

Of her St. Michael’s experiences, Afrah says, “I think it is the attitude in the hospital in general when it comes to the people at the Information Desk, the nurses, the volunteers, and of course the doctors – genuine caring is something you see in all of them. It’s a great hospital!”