Spirit of Giving

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10 reasons we love our donors

Happy Valentine’s Day! Donors are an essential part of making the IWK the centre of excellence that it is today. We are so thankful for their love and generosity! This Valentine’s Day, our staff members at the IWK Foundation wanted to let our supporters know exactly why we love them. 

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10 reasons why we love our donors.

1 – I love the passion so many of our donors have for the IWK. They are fiercely dedicated to the cause and they understand the direct impact their giving has on patients and staff.  It’s a beautiful thing! ~ Carla Adams, Principal Communications Strategist

2 Our donors provide more than money – they give passion, energy, and expertise! ~ Molly Cotter, Director of Finances and Donor Services

3 – They  not only give, they can go above and beyond, volunteering their time and efforts beyond the financial. They’re so happy to give to total strangers! It really is inspiring. ~ Christie Moore, Major Gifts Officer

4 – I love our donors because they help the staff at the IWK make miracles happen! – Lynda Moffatt,  Development Officer – Cape Breton and Eastern Nova Scotia 

5 I am very grateful and love our many donor’s who, because they care, are quietly having an impact on the quality of health care we have come to expect from the IWK; they help to ensure that this level of excellence can continue well into the future. Their continued support is both humbling and vital. ~ Mary Theresa Ross, Manger of Planned Giving 

6 – They inspire me to be more giving.  ~ Trena Crewe, Director of Donor Relations

7 – I love our donors because they give children hope. ~ David Huett, Donor Service Specialist

8 – I love our donors because they care about the IWK as much as we do. Their donations are special and come from the heart. We both share the same the goal, to make the IWK the place possible for Maritime children, women and their families. ~ Andrew Paris, Administrative Assistant/Receptionist 

9 – I love our donors for their spirit of generosity and support for Maritime families.  ~ Natalie Foster, Database & Donor Services Administrator

10 – I love our donors because beyond the financial support they provide, they provide the most important gift of all:  hope. ~ Geoffrey Milder, Development Officer, Mainland NS & Children’s Miracle Network Program Director

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you to every one of our supporters. You are part of everything we do. 

Make a gift to the IWK Foundation.

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Leaving a Gift for Tomorrow

Mary Theresa Ross is the Manager of  Personal & Planned Gifts with the IWK Health Centre Foundation. If you have any questions, or would like further information on how to make a planned gift to the IWK Foundation, please call Mary Theresa at 902-470-8240.

Mary Theresa Ross, Manager of Personal & Planned Gifts

Mary Theresa Ross, Manager of Personal & Planned Gifts

Each of us possesses the power to provide a lasting legacy to charitable causes we feel are important. A gift in your will not only provides tremendous personal satisfaction , but allows the IWK to plan for future projects with greater certainty and use donations to greater effect.

For me, working at the IWK Foundation is so much more than a career, it is my absolute passion. I believe in the need because I’ve seen it first hand. My daughter, Jody, spent more than four and half years as an inpatient being treated at the Health Centre.

I used to reflect on what it would be like for Maritime Families if the IWK was not here. A gift in a Will helps the Foundation with the security of knowing the funds are in place to allow us to continue to grow and provide care for future generations. It helps ensure the future will be stronger. Your planning is a part of how we help families.

Here is the top 10 things you can do today to leave a gift in your will to your favourite charitable cause.

Sincerely, Mary Theresa Ross, IWK Health Centre Foundation

Top 10 Things You Can Do Today to Leave a Legacy

1.) Prepare a will.

2.) Leave a gift in your will for the not-for-profit organization that makes a difference in your life.

3.) Leave a specific dollar amount or a percentage of your assets to a not-for-profit organization.

4.) Consider using assets for your legacy gift.

5.) Name a not-for-profit as a beneficiary of your RRSP, RRIF or pension plan.

6.) Name your favourite not-for-profit as the beneficiary of an existing life insurance policy.

7.) Purchase a new life insurance policy naming your favourite not-for-profit as the beneficiary.

8.) Remember loved ones with memorial gifts.

9.) Encourage family and friends to leave gifts to not-for-profit in their wills.

10.) Ask your financial or estate planning advisor to include charitable giving as part of your financial plan and to incorporate in their counsel to other clients.

Make a gift to the IWK Health Centre Foundation. 

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Happy 128th Birthday Izaak Walton Killam!

ImageThis past Tuesday, the IWK Health Centre Foundation celebrated the 128th birthday of Izaak Walton Killam, the namesake of the IWK Health Centre.

The celebration was held in the Goldboom Pavilion at the IWK, where patients, families and caregivers came together to celebrate the life of a man whose legacy continues to live on at the Health Centre. Everyone gathered to enjoy cake, ice cream and punch.

Izaak Walton Killam was born on July 23, 1885 and came from a family of merchants and ship owners in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Although he had limited formal education, his intense entrepreneurial drive combined with his talent for business, is what allowed him to flourish and gain a reputation of being one of the richest men in Canada at the time of his sudden death in 1955.

Izaak was survived by his beloved wife Dorothy who passed away in 1956. Dorothy created a Will that expressed plans that she and Izaak frequently discussed before he passed away. When she passed away just one year later, $8 million was donated to open the Izaak Walton Killam Hospital for Children in Halifax through her Estate.

This generous donation has played a significant role in making IWK Health Centre what it is today – a world-class, specialized care facility for all the Maritime women and children.

Thank you to those who came out and made this special day a success.

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Made-to-Order Independence

This article was written by Debra Wells-Hopey for the Spring/Summer issue of Izaak Magazine – an in-depth, behind the scenes, all-access publication highlighting the incredible, everyday happenings at the IWK Health Centre.

11-year-old Taya and occupational therapist Julia Gates

11-year-old Taya and occupational therapist Julia Gates

How a customized wheelchair program provides quality of life for hundreds of kids.

Taya is spirited, bright and patient as she describes the way she gets around in the world.

“When I move my head left, I turn left,” she says enthusiastically, even though she must have explained this to people many times over. “When I move my head right, I go right. And when I move my head back, I go straight forward.”

At 11 years-old, Taya has Cerebral Palsy and is a long time visitor to IWK Specialty Seating, a service within the IWK’s Rehabilitation Service. The service offers assessment and provision of customized seating and positioning equipment, including seating inserts, wheelchairs, special-needs strollers, bath seats, car seats and toileting aids.

Julia Gates, Occupational Therapist in Specialty Seating, and Nancy Cashen, Operations Manager for Rehabilitation Services, have known Taya since she was three years old. “This program is designed to assist children who can’t walk on their own, most often due to Spina Bifida, Muscular Dystrophy or Cerebral Palsy,” explained Gates. “Children are referred to the program as early as 14 months and stay with us until they are ready to transition to adult health care.”

Gates explained that although children this young are able to still use a stroller, it means they are dependent on others to get around — at an age when they want to start exploring the world on their own.

“Independence is an essential part in a child’s growth and development,” added Cashen.

Specialty Seating at the IWK consists of Cashen and Gates, as well as a Specialty Seating Technician, David Beattie, and a Funding Coordinator. Together, along with the family, this team determines what kind of wheelchair would be best for the child.

“We take many factors into account,” says Gates. “For instance, a level of hand mobility is essential for maneuvering a manual wheelchair, but not necessary for a power wheelchair.”

The amount of seating support required is a complex assessment that is completed by the occupational therapist and takes into account the disease prognosis, planned orthopaedic surgeries, maintenance of skin integrity, comfort, functional abilities and wheelchair skills. All children are different, and the amount of support required could be viewed as mild, moderate, or complex. Generally, seating for a mild support is not custom made, and may be arranged through a local wheelchair supplier in the community. The seating for children who require moderate or complex support is custom made by the Specialty Seating Service at the IWK.

There is a workshop onsite at the IWK where Beattie employs his expertise. For specialized seating, an impression is made on a mould that resembles a large bean bag. This shape can then be transferred to a 3D digital model on the computer. These images are sent via email to the United States where the only machine of its kind in North America manufactures the seat. It is then shipped to the IWK for fitting.

As for Beattie, he has been with the hospital since 1989. He was familiar with an Occupational Therapist who suggested he may enjoy the work. Considering Beattie has remained in the program for more than 24 years, it certainly is a great fit.

“This is the perfect job as far as I’m concerned,” says Beattie. “I get to work with my hands and help people simultaneously. The work is challenging and rewarding.”

Beattie’s workshop looks much like any other, yet very unlike anything you expect to see in a hospital. There are various materials stored: pieces of repurposed wheelchairs, three industrial-sized sewing machines, neoprene for upholstering, two band saws, a table saw and a wealth of tools.

“When we first see someone we measure them for a seat using a fitting frame. From these measurements I construct a seat out of foam and plywood and I upholster it. I also adjust and repair wheelchairs as needed. I’d say one of my favourite parts of my job is going on the mobile clinics. Several times a year we go to Cape Breton and the Annapolis Valley. At times we go to schools here in HRM, or even homes.”

Gates explained that the first order of business when a child needs a wheelchair or seating device is to meet with the family and get to know their needs.

“This initial meeting is so important,” says Gates. “It’s when we first get to meet the child; establishing their needs, administering a postural assessment, taking measurements, then making recommendations.”

“Recently we had a child who needed a new power wheelchair. We had two styles and tried them both in the home to see which operated better in that specific environment. It needs to work in the child’s daily life.”

Having the right wheelchair and seating can make all the difference in the world when it comes to quality of life — kids need to participate with classmates, explore their environment and have a sense of independence.

“When a child receives their first wheelchair it is often a period of growth for both the parents and the child,” says Gates.

Taya’s mother Christine knows all about it. She has been taking Taya to Specialty Seating and working with the team for eight years. Taya was only three when she received her first wheelchair and met the group at Specialty Seating. She was outgrowing a stroller at this point, not only in a physical way but also as a growing child her needs were changing — she had a desire to be independent, to be able to explore the world on her own.

“Although she was small enough to still use the stroller, it no longer seemed to be the appropriate choice,”explained her mom. “The chair was so much better for her

Izaak#Provincial#05-02-2013#A01posture, and allowed her to be eye level with her peers. Her diaphragm was also better supported which made her breathing and therefore her speaking so much better.”

Taya was born with cerebral palsy. She enjoys her grade five class and likes to read — especially Harry Potter books. She also swims and uses a sit ski at Wentworth ski hill.

“I have both a manual and a power chair,” explained Taya. “I use the power chair at school. Some places are easier to use a wheelchair in than others though.”

Although Taya drives herself around by using head movements, the wheelchair must be steered remotely by a device similar to a joystick when it is being loaded into the family van. Apparently, according to a laughing Taya, dad is an expert at it, while mom, who is quick to agree, isn’t as deft.

Taya was eight when she got her first power chair. She started at six years old “training” with a joy stick, but it was a lot of work and a head array began to make more sense. The family visits Specialty Seating about once a year.

“To a certain extent, the chairs grow with her. Especially the manual chair, which she will have for about eight years,” explains Christine. “The power chair needs changes or replacing more frequently.”

As for cost, the family is fortunate that both Christine and her husband have good health care plans, however, they still certainly incur costs. The head array alone cost $10,000, which is as much as the chair. Then there are the costs of converting the family van with a manual ramp that has to be lifted and unfolded. A power system is even more expensive. This is the reality for families with a wheelchair. Taya gets to continue to visit the team at Specialty Seating until she is ready to transition to adult health care.

“I can’t say enough about the program and the staff,” says Christine. “When your child is first diagnosed, you’re in a daze. You don’t know where to go or what to do. They have helped us immensely, even in emergency situations.”

One such situation was during a weekend when Taya’s chair was accidentally run over, crushing one of the wheels. It meant facing a whole weekend propped up or in bed. Not a great thought for a young, energetic girl like Taya. Christine contacted Gates and Beattie who were more than willing to go into work on a Saturday to get the chair fixed. Says Taya, “Dave and Julia are extremely nice people and I would come to them all my life if I could.”

And there’s no higher praise than that.

To read the full issue of Izaak magazine visit www.iwkfoundation.org/izaak

Make a gift to the IWK Health Centre Foundation.

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Generosity Rocks!

Thank You Bedford Masonic Lodge 104 and the Masonic Foundation of Nova Scotia!

This past weekend was a busy one for the IWK and the IWK Foundation, but only one event brought the crowd to their (dancing) feet. The Bedford Masonic Lodge 104 held Free Bird, a rockin’ benefit concert in support of Mental Health Awareness, at the Lower Deck Bar & Grill on May 26. This event benefited several mental health organizations, including the IWK Health Centre.

The incredible generosity of the Masonic Lodge did not stop there; the Masonic Foundation of Nova Scotia recently announced they will be donating $10,000 to mental health care at the IWK! Their donation will go a very long way to changing lives through excellence in care.

Events like Free Bird not only raise much-needed funds, they also bring our community together to create an open dialogue on mental health. This is a conversation that must keep going! One of the Health Centre’s goals is to remove the stigma that exists around mental illness, and the more we all talk about it and share our experiences, the faster we will move toward positive change.

The crowd at Free Bird was treated to concerts by local bands who played everything  from rock to swing-influenced tunes. Bands included: Loose Ends, Swingology, Remedy, Memphis Nights, and The Take It Easy Band. A silent auction and 50/50 draws rounded out the event perfectly.

We are so grateful to the Bedford Masonic Lodge 104 and the Masonic Foundation of Nova Scotia for their generosity and for including us as a beneficiary of this unique event – and to the community as a whole for attending and supporting this very important cause.  Your contribution will surely change lives; together, we really can make a difference.


Swingology had people up and dancing the night away!

Loose Ends at Free Bird

Loose Ends rocking the stage!

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It’s the families who are the true superstars!

Dionne Izzard is a Major Gifts Officer at the IWK Health Centre Foundation and an IWK Superstar.

Dionne and Spencer at the 27th Annual Telethon for Children on CTV

I’ve always been a subscriber to the notion if you work for a not-for-profit organization you should be a donor to that organization. If you’re not, your credibility is at stake.  In my opinion, it’s tough to sincerely ask someone else to give if you aren’t doing the same. That’s why I chose to make monthly donations to the IWK and become an IWK Superstar.

Joining the IWK Foundation five years ago was a life-changing experience. I met families – who on the surface – appeared to be just like mine, but they were different. They were facing challenges in which many people would break, but there they were, telling their IWK story and trying to make a difference for other families just like them.

Every day, I meet someone new who ignites my passion and commitment to the IWK.  I can connect what I do each day to these stories and it makes my role as a donor and a staff member that much more meaningful.

Becoming an IWK Superstar was the easiest decision I ever made. I know that my monthly donations are truly making a difference in the lives of Maritime families by going to the area of greatest need. Whether it’s life-saving medical equipment, essential support programs or groundbreaking research, I’m helping the hospital do what it does best – make people better.

I want to provide the ongoing support needed to give the health care teams the funds required to do their jobs. They are so passionate and committed to their work. Additionally, every month families come through the doors of the IWK and they need care and treatment. The least I can do is give them my support every month too. Let’s face it, families in the Maritimes can be touched by the IWK at any time.

Giving every month to the IWK is an investment in my future health and the health of the people I love most.

Learn more about becoming an IWK Superstar.

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Bequests are gifts that change lives forever.

The IWK holds a special place in the hearts of many. It is a place that changes lives and saves lives. Planned gifts made to the IWK will outlast your lifetime and touch the lives of future generations. For many of our donors, such as Dorothy Grant, the decision to leave a bequest to the IWK was a very personal one.

There’s nothing in the world more devastating than hearing that your little boy is dying. It’s the ultimate pain. You can’t describe it. There are no words.

But there is great consolation in knowing that your child’s death has given hope to others. That’s been my experience these past 28 years, and all because of a legacy gift that we made after my son’s death.

The year was 1983. My David was 11 years old. He began having terrible problems. He said, “Mom, there’s something wrong with me.” So my husband and I took Davey to the IWK Health Centre (as it’s now called). They did a CAT Scan. The doctor said, “David is dying. He has a rare neurological disease called adrenaleukidystrophy.”

David spent almost a year at the IWK Health Centre, and then died. We donated his life savings—$8,000—to help children at the IWK. We created an endowment called The David Grant Fund, which exists to this day. Income from the fund goes towards the well-being of children with a neurological condition, and their families.

If you ever want to see for yourself the difference that your legacy can make, just visit the playroom at the IWK. You’ll see smiling parents, and hear their children laughing. That’s because a donation is given to the playroom by the David Grant Fund each year to promote comfort and pleasure for patients.

David’s life lives on because of that simple gift that we made at his death. And that’s the main reason that his father and I are leaving a bequest to the IWK Health Centre Foundation in our wills. We are determined to keep Davey’s memory alive as an expression of our love, and also want to make a difference in the future of the IWK.

We remember how the staff treated us all those years ago when we took Davey to “Five East.” The nurses were wonderful. They hugged us. They comforted us. It was absolutely what kept us going. If we didn’t have the IWK, I don’t know if we would have survived.

And that’s why I’m writing you today. I hope you’ll consider leaving a bequest to the IWK Health Centre Foundation. You will make such a valuable contribution to the children. I’ve seen that first-hand, every year, for almost 30 years.

I don’t know if you know this or not, but the hospital has depended on donors like you and me since its inception. Many years ago, the original Halifax Children’s Hospital would never have been built if a donor hadn’t come forward with over half of the cost of the building.

Bequests are really important to the IWK. They are gifts that change lives forever. Bequests have helped the hospital expand, provide extra services, and bridge the gap between regular care and extraordinary care. They are a valuable part of the hospital’s present, and its future.

By leaving a gift in your will, you ensure that children and families throughout the Maritimes continue to receive the best care possible. I realize that making such a gift is a very personal decision. It certainly was for Bill and me. Please discuss my suggestion with the appropriate people in your life . . . your family, a trusted friend, your lawyer or your estate planner.

I will be forever devoted to the IWK and its caring staff. Their names are carved on my soul. Bill and I will have great comfort knowing that, when we are gone, there will be a fund that continues on in Davey’s name. It’s so important to us that his memory live on, and that children today—and tomorrow—will receive excellent care because of that legacy gift that he made.

Davey was such a sweetheart. He was my tender, blonde-haired, blue-eyed little darling. He left my arms at such a young age, leaving me with an ache that’s been a long while healing. But so much good has come from his passing. That gift we made after his death has been helping children like Davey for close to 30 years. That’s why Bill and I are leaving a bequest to the IWK Health Centre Foundation in our wills. If Davey was around today, he’d look at us with that impish grin of his and say, “Good for you, mom and dad!”

Dorothy Grant

PS. You’re likely wondering how an 11-year-old boy had $8,000 in his bank account. Well, Davey appeared in a number of television plays and commercials before he got sick, and he was saving his pay for something special. To learn more about my Davey’s story, and to learn how you can leave a bequest to the IWK, please visit http://www.iwkfoundation.org.

For more information on how to make a planned gift to the IWK Health Centre Foundation, visit our planned gift web page.