Brad Jacobs is the Vice President of Development at the IWK Foundation
Today was a special day at the IWK as we celebrated the life of Charlie MacDougall with some of his family and the staff at the IWK. Charlie was an oncology patient at the IWK, who unfortunately left us too soon at the age of 14.
In 2005, Charlie’s parents, Chris and Karen MacDougall, established the Charlie MacDougall Trust Fund to support the Haematology/Oncology Unit at the IWK. The fund was established with a generous donation by the MacDougall family, as well as several contributions over the years from their friends and family.
As we celebrated the naming of an activity area in Charlie’s honor, I was overwhelmed by the impact Charlie has left on the staff at the IWK. I have had the pleasure of assisting Chris and Karen with the fund since 2005, and during that time, I learned about the passing of Charlie after three and a half years of treatment. Each time I spoke with Chris I could feel his love for Charlie and the sadness the family feels in losing their son.
I never met Charlie, but he clearly struck a special chord with many, which was evident by the presence of doctors, nurses and administrators that participated in the room naming event in Charlie’s honor. It is also clear that he deeply touched the lives of his friends, who still honor him to this day by visiting the MacDougall’s annually on the anniversary of Charlie’s passing on December 28th.
We are thankful to the MacDougall family for making this wonderful donation, so that we can continue to help children like Charlie and their families for years to come. The gifts from the family range from equipment – a blood machine to facilitate home monitoring of coagulation levels – to comfort items, such as rocking chairs for families who spend long days on the unit. The MacDougall’s contribution also supports other families by recognizing the many financial burdens that come with the diagnosis of cancer. These special touches are quite distinct but essential in their own way.
Philanthropy is so much about the human spirit and making a positive impact on our world. It is also about creating a legacy, and preserving the memory of loved ones. Charlie remains close to the hearts of many. And today’s naming of the activity area was a wonderful tribute to Charlie and his family, a celebration of life and an important reminder that Charlie will always be with us at the IWK.