St. Michael's Society Donor Stories

A number of our St. Michael's Society members have shared their stories along with the reasons why they support St. Michael's.

Betty Hutcheon: A St. Michael's Family

From the age of 12, St. Michael's Hospital has been an integral part of Betty Hutcheon's life.
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Lynda and Ron Douglas

Lynda and Ron Douglas explain how the exceptional care they receive at St. Michael's lead them to include St. Michael's in their will.
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The Canadian Way

Singer, broadcaster and writer Riki Turofsky believes in the importance of helping others. Someone close to her once said "If you're feeling low, do something for someone else." It's a philosophy that has informed her life and that of her husband, Charles Petersen.
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Founding Values

“I have nothing but good things to say about St. Michael’s. It is a loving refuge for inpatients and outpatients alike.”
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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.
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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.”
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Forever Grateful

For almost 30 years, Elia Guido has depended on St. Michael’s Hospital. According to Elia, it’s the only hospital in the city she will go to for treatment.
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It's About Caring

In 1947, when he was 19, Don Hillhouse arrived at St. Michael’s Hospital by streetcar. He had been referred by the Workman’s Compensation Board to have a hernia repaired after an industrial accident. He would be operated on by Dr. Keith Welsh, then the renowned and revered Chief Surgeon. Don says, “The atmosphere at the hospital was dignified, peaceful, orderly – it said ‘You’re going to be well looked after here.’ The care, supervised by dedicated and compassionate nuns and nurses, was exceptional.”
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A Force of Nature

Jackie Rosati is painting a mural of an Ontario waterfall at the Villa Colombo, which she and her husband helped found and where she continues to volunteer. She is 85 and high up on a scaffold. Nobody is going to tell her to get down. That is a nice metaphor for Jackie’s life and a testament to her indomitable spirit – the girl who arrived in North America via Ellis Island, defied expectations to become a nurse, married a dashing airman and went on to become a pillar of the Italian-Canadian community, known for her energy and generosity.
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The Right Thing to Do

"St. Michael’s Hospital provides such a valuable service to a tremendously diverse community in downtown Toronto and I think people should be aware and grateful for the care they receive," says Walter Winogradow, a retired bookstore manager living in Toronto.
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The Golden Rule

You probably never heard of Sandra McGuire, but if you have been to St. Michael’s Hospital within the last twenty years or so, chances are she has given you or someone you know information on how best to navigate our corridors. Maybe she’s made the time you spent here a little sweeter or perhaps a little more comfortable. Regardless, we think she’s definitely somebody worth knowing and we are delighted to tell you her story.
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Model of Philanthropy

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.
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A Life of Accomplishment and Service

It’s hard not to be impressed with Marie O’Connor when you hear her life story. She has worn so many different hats over the course of her life: Girl Guide, teacher, wife, mother, bookkeeper, widow, publisher, apple farmer. Other words come to mind: survivor; leader; philanthropist; volunteer. At 18 Marie became involved with the Girl Guides, volunteering for 40 years at the local, provincial and national levels. She was also President of the Volunteer Association at St. Michael’s for several years. Now 84, Marie continues to volunteer for the hospital, the place where she received a number of lifesaving operations over many decades.
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St. Mike's Keeps RAF Vet Aloft

After suffering a silent heart attack many years ago, Nicholas Watson was brought to St. Michael's Hospital where he was quickly diagnosed and treated. Today, Nicholas is cared for by renowned cardiologist Dr. Anthony Graham, medical director of the Robert McRae Heart Health Unit and Order of Canada recipient for advancing heart care. "He's a delightful man and a great cardiologist," says Nicholas.
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Here and Now

"St. Mike's has saved my life three times!" exclaims John C. Ferth. As the gregarious businessman-turned philanthropist prepares to celebrate his 88th birthday, he reflects on the trio of health interventions that sparked his desire to give back to St. Michael's Hospital.
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A Gift that Keeps on Giving

For more than 30 years, Agnes Faraci had her finger on the pulse of patient care. As a nurse, she travelled around the globe, working at hospitals in Madrid, Munich and Rome. She volunteered to help doctors care for the less fortunate in medical missions to Central and South America. While a nurse in the naval reserve, she trained medics. And she spent time at every single hospital in Toronto. "In all my years of nursing, I've always considered St. Michael's home," says Agnes. "I can say with certainty that it's the number one hospital out there."
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Gilbert Meyer, Leaving a Legacy

In January of 2008, Gilbert Meyer passed out at work - a clear warning sign that he had a health problem. Gilbert, a pharmacist, had a family history of heart trouble: his father died during a heart procedure. He responded by making some lifestyle changes, including adopting a largely vegetarian diet. Now the family history had caught up with him and he was taken by ambulance to St. Joseph's Health Centre in Toronto, where he was seen by a cardiologist. He went back in March for a stress test - the patient undergoes supervised exercise while connected to a monitor to measure the heart's response - and failed.
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Arne and Beverley Clausen's story

About 25 years ago, Arne had a heart attack and was referred to St. Michael’s for bypass surgery. He was so pleased by his treatment and the outcome that he made regular gifts to the hospital’s heart program for a number of years. When he died, his will revealed a substantial bequest of more than $2 million to St. Michael’s, along with gifts to two other hospitals. Cynthia Collantes, Director – Gift Planning, says that creating a bequest, like Arne’s, is one of the easiest ways to support your favourite charity.
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Sweet Rose

The world can learn a lot from Rose Pirri. The mild-mannered 94-year-old shares the secrets to the sweet life while sinking her spoon into a chocolate sundae. “If you want to have a good life, you must be honest, work hard and love others,” she advises.
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Lynn's Room

Maddi Fitzpatrick and her husband Gary clearly believe in the importance of giving back. Their efforts and those of their family and community will ensure that their daughter-in-law Lynn's “kindness and smile“ will be remembered for a long time.
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The Circle of Life

For Evan Ernest Bernacchia-Canton, St. Michael's represents the ultimate example of life coming full circle.
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Making a Forever Gift

Brian Helms shares his experience at St. Michael's and why he has chosen to become a donor...
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Carole Collier Leaves a Legacy

For more than twenty years Carole Collier had been coming to St. Michael's Hospital to receive regular breast screenings. Her appointments were always uneventful. But in the summer of 2011, she received an unexpected phone call from a nurse at the CIBC Breast Centre. An abnormality was discovered during one of her mammograms, and Carole was told she needed to come back for further testing.
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Against All Odds

Denise Allick's family was told they should prepare to say their goodbyes.
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Stephen’s story

Mom, I’ve decided to stop receiving treatments.” Those are shattering words for any parent to hear.
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Catherine's story

Catherine MacNeil, a patient at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, Canada had a cancerous tumour in her bowel 10 years ago and at the time, it didn't look like she had a lot of time left. She went for surgery right away. Now she visits Dr. Rashida Haq each month for needles to keep the tumour stable. She's put St. Michael's in her will in honour of Dr. Rashid.
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George and Maria’s story

George and Maria Nel are grateful patients who want St. Michael’s proud tradition of caring to continue for many years to come. “The doctors, nurses and office staff treat you with kindness, respect and compassion. There is always a smile for you. This is why we bequeathed our estate to St. Michael’s Foundation,” they say.
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Susan’s story

Susan Grimshaw Levesque has come a long way since her first summer job at St. Michael’s many years ago. Today, she’s an investment advisor and often advises clients on estate planning, but she hasn't forgotten St. Michael’s.
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