Maria and Terry Collier have always led an active and healthy life. Regular workouts, tennis, skiing and golf played an important role in their lives, especially for Terry who is a passionate golfer.
So when they both began having health issues, they were taken aback. They feared losing the ability to do the things that had always given them so much pleasure.
“Throughout our lives we tried our best to do all the right things to stay healthy and fit,” says Maria. “Yet in spite of our healthy choices, we eventually needed advanced medical care. St. Michael’s Hospital was there to help us and that is why we are so grateful.”
In Terry’s case, it was joint problems “I began to experience hip and leg pain,” says Terry. “As an avid golfer, this was a problem. I was only 56 at that time.”
Then he read about a unique treatment available at St. Michael’s – Dr. Emil Schemitsch’s advanced hip joint resurfacing procedure. Dr. Schemitsch worked his magic and 10 years later, Terry continues to golf four days a week.
I was treated by a world-class surgeon. And the care I received at the hospital was also exceptional. The more I read about it, the more I understood that this type of procedure requires support: support for the research to develop it and support for the medical experts to deliver it. — Terry Collier, grateful patient and donor
Shortly after Terry’s successful procedure in 2008, Maria needed surgery. She had been diagnosed with severe scoliosis (a triple curve) at the age of 50. Advanced wear and tear on discs and vertebrae was causing her pain.
By 2009, the pain and symptoms began to intensify. Maria’s doctor ordered an MRI. A few days later, at 7:00 a.m., Maria’s doctor called to tell her she had a serious issue with a herniated disc which was partially compressing her spinal cord. Her ability to walk was threatened. Surgery was unavoidable.
A couple of months later, St. Michael’s Dr. Richard Perrin performed spinal decompression surgery. Although she and Terry were both concerned about the after effects, surgery was a complete success. Maria left the hospital the next day and was back on the treadmill a short time later.
I was so relieved. I understood that I had been given a new lease on life. And that was due to the fact that St. Michael’s doctors and staff, including the nurses, were given the support needed to do their jobs at such an extraordinary level. — Maria Collier, grateful patient and donor
Like many grateful patients who become donors to the Foundation, Terry and Maria began with smaller gifts. But after the outstanding results of their two highly complicated procedures, they wanted to make a larger, more impactful contribution.
“We focused that donation on the programs that we benefited from and the doctors who provided the care,” says Terry.
Later, the Colliers decided to make a bequest to St. Michael’s Foundation in support of the hospital.
“It seemed the obvious thing to do,” says Maria. “We are lucky to be able to give back. And the need for care is not going away. We wanted to make a gift - like those that helped the hospital long before we needed its care - so that others could benefit also.”
The Foundation uses these types of planned gifts to support a variety of programs and services at the hospital. The Colliers’ designated in their will that their gift support the areas that affected their lives – orthopedics and neurosurgery.
“There is so much that St. Michael’s Hospital can do to provide care to those who need it, if it is given enough support,” says Maria.
For more information about making a planned gift, please contact Sandra Smith, Philanthropy Officer, Gift Planning, 416-864-6060 ext. 2044 or SmithSan@smh.ca.