“Successful entrepreneurs share with St. Mike’s”
“Budding entrepreneurs, many years before they met, Ewing and Faye Rae established their own firms on the same day - July 1, 1971. In Ewing’s case, it was an electrical engineering firm, E.A. Rae & Associates, which later merged with a mechanical engineering company, Andrew Hidi & Associates. Together the firms completed thousands of projects in Canada and around the world including the USA, China, India and the Caribbean. And now, under the name Hidi Rae Consulting Engineers Inc., they have offices in Toronto, Calgary, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
I enjoyed my work. I pulled a lot of all-nighters though – you have to when you have to get your plans and specifications out,” he says. “It was a good run.
For Faye, it was a communications company specializing in the fresh produce sector – Faye Clack Communications. She produced television and radio spots showing viewers and listeners how to prepare meals made using fresh vegetables and fruits. She even produced a video for Loblaws, which the company played in its produce section and which gave her enough air time that some viewers recognize her to this day.
“I loved the job,” says Faye. “I met growers, consumers and TV and newspaper food editors. And I made great friendships.”
Both Faye and Ewing would spend 30 years at the helm of their respective growing businesses. And each would also suffer the early death of a spouse and struggle to rebuild their lives in the shadow of loss.
But it wasn’t until 1981 that the pair first crossed paths at an artist’s gathering in Toronto. “We literally met as we were both going through the door,” recalls Ewing.
They became friends, and saw each other on and off throughout the years, before marrying in 2015.
“It took him a long time to make up his mind,” jokes Faye.
By then, both had spent time in the care of St. Michael’s Hospital doctors – cardiologists for Faye and urologists for Ewing. Each had also chosen St. Michael’s-affiliated general practitioners.
“Because we travel a lot, we’ve found ourselves in various emergency departments around the world,” says Ewing. “But never have we had an experience anywhere else like we’ve had at St. Mike’s.”
It was their shared experience with the hospital that set the stage for a series of donations to various medical departments -- surgery, urology, oncology and cardiology - culminating in late 2017 in Founders’ status.
Their donations have helped St. Michael’s establish two important research professorships in partnership with the University of Toronto – the “Rae Early Career Professorship in Colon Cancer Surgical Care,” awarded to Dr. Sandra de Montbrun, and the “Rae Early Career Professorship in Breast Cancer Decision Tool Development,” awarded to Dr. Adena Scheer.
Funding Dr. Scheer’s professorship was especially meaningful for the Raes. Faye’s daughter, Cory, died of triple negative breast cancer in 2007.
“I see what strides have been made in cancer research. I would have loved for that to have happened way back when my daughter was diagnosed,” says Faye. “I know they need money to do these things.”
Which is why the Raes have also made provisions in their will for a donation to St. Michael’s Foundation.
While Ewing and Faye are grateful for the care they’ve received, they say becoming a donor has its own benefits. “We’ve really appreciated the opportunity to get to know doctors as people, not just caregivers,” says Ewing.