Spirit of Giving

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May is LEAVE A LEGACY™ month!

May is LEAVE A LEGACY™  month! Mary Theresa Ross, Manager of Personal & Planned gifts, shares her personal connection to the IWK Health Centre and the important roll that planned gifts make to patients at the IWK. 

If you have visited the IWK Health Centre with a sick child or loved one, you truly understand the passion and conviction of IWK staff members who teach, encourage and challenge patients and their families to thrive no matter what the illness or disease.  Prior to working at the IWK Foundation, I was a Foundation volunteer for 21 years.  However, my personal journey with the IWK actually began 30 years ago, when I walked into that foreign concrete building for the first time, not as an employee or volunteer, but as the mother of a child with a serious illness.  At that moment, I had no idea that the doctors, nurses, patients and events that happened within those four walls would shape me into the person that I have become today.

Leave a legacy to the IWK in your Will

Jody with her son, Cameron.

My true passion for the IWK stems from the time that my family and I spent at the Health Centre all those years ago. Over the course of an eleven-year period, my daughter, Jody, spent five years and three months as an inpatient. This is not including the additional six and a half months that Jody spent as an inpatient on the women’s side when she found herself in critical condition while pregnant with my beautiful grandson, Cameron.  Cameron and Jody would not be here today without the doctors and nurses who fought valiantly to save both of their lives.

This is just one IWK story. And to me, the most rewarding part of my personal and professional journey with the IWK has been meeting other individuals and families who have shared their stories of hope and encouragement.  Although often overwhelming, these stories have the power to move you in profound and unexpected ways, no matter what the outcome. Maritime families recognize the IWK as a centre of excellence and believe whole-heartedly that they have received the best possible care.  This is why I am a donor.  And this is why I have left a gift to the IWK Foundation in my estate plans.

In my current role as the Manager, Personal and Planned Gifts at the IWK Foundation, I have been fortunate to witness first-hand how our donors and families are giving back to the IWK and the impact that their generosity continues to have on patient care at the Health Centre.  Estate gifts to the IWK help sustain excellence in specialized care including neonatal and pediatric intensive care, women’s health, and mental health services for children and youth.  Funds also support world-renowned research studies, capital investments, and the purchase of world-class technology and state-of-the-art equipment.  Gifts made through estate planning keep us strong, motivated and inspired not only today but well into the future.

This is why I need you to please consider joining me today.  Your estate gift, no matter what the size, will help children like Jody and make a significant difference in the lives of thousands of families like mine.  Help us ensure that the IWK’s tradition of excellence will live on by leaving a legacy for future generations.

Excellence is in your hands.  

Learn more about leaving a planned 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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If only we could have said thank you

May is Leave a Legacy Month. Each of us possesses the power to provide a lasting legacy to charitable causes we feel are important.

A life well lived; a legacy that will last forever. St. Clair Nowe of Broad Cove, NS, may not have been famous in the conventional sense, but he will be remembered forever for his generous gift to future generations. Recently, St. Clair left an estate gift to the IWK Health Centre Foundation which will serve Maritime families for years to come.

StClair Nowe

StClair Nowe

Born in Bridgewater on August 31, 1944, St. Clair graduated from Hebbville High School and Bridgewater Commercial School.  He then spent many years working for the Provincial Government in Halifax.  After returning to Broad Cove, St. Clair lived in his family home for many years where he enjoyed listening to music, cruising in his beloved automobile, and working in the community.  St. Clair Nowe passed away peacefully in July of 2011.

The IWK Foundation team was humbled and honoured when we learned that St. Clair had left an estate gift to the IWK in his will.   His donation will have an incredible impact on patient care, and serves as a fitting tribute to a man whose memory and legacy are held in such high regard.

If only we could have said thank you; he would know how many patients will benefit from his gift.

Through his estate donation, St. Clair has contributed to the continued excellence in specialized care for Maritime women and children.  We are eternally grateful for his generosity, as estate gifts are instrumental in helping the IWK enhance its world-class research in fields such as neonatal and pediatric intensive care, women’s health, and mental health services for children and youth.  Funds also support the purchase of modern technology and equipment.

St. Clair clearly believed in supporting his community, and knew he could make a difference.  We encourage everyone who is thinking about making a planned gift to let us know so that we can celebrate and say thank you for helping us nurture the future of health care.

We all have the ability to make a difference in our community. If we work together, we can help ensure the patients and families who rely on the IWK reach their full potential.   An estate gift is the most important gift you will ever give, and the donation provided by St. Clair Nowe is a shining example of how a planned gift given today ensures a stronger future tomorrow.

The IWK Health Centre Foundation is a proud supporter of the Nova Scotia Leave a Legacy(TM) program.

For more information on how to make a planned gift to the IWK Foundation, please visit www.iwkfoundation.org/plannedgiving.

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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.

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An Islander leaves a legacy

Mary Theresa Ross is the Personal and Planned Giving officer with the IWK Foundation.

Gifts to the IWK Health Centre often come from the heart, and none more so than that left by long-time donor Alex MacRae, of Culloden, PEI. He left 30 per cent of the residue of his estate to the IWK Health Centre Foundation for areas of greatest need in Children’s Health Services.

The heart can shelter many secrets and wishes that are not shared; the exact reason for Mr. MacRae’s donation may never be known. But second cousin Donalda Ross, who was also a neighbor, has a couple of theories.

Mr. MacRae served with the 2nd Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment in Europe during the Second World War and met the love of his life, Irene Clark, while in England, where they married. Mrs. Ross said while he never talked about his experiences, the suffering of the children caught in war may have led him to donate to the IWK.

When the MacRae’s returned to PEI, they lived on the family farm. For 34 years, Mr. MacRae also served as a quartermaster aboard the Prince Nova, and enjoyed meeting people from across Canada and around the world.

While the two never had children of their own, they were known to be fond of children. Mrs. Ross says they were especially close to a young niece who passed away at age six. “She was an angel,” says Mrs. Ross who was also executrix of his will. “And she always had a special place in their hearts.”

Mrs. MacRae passed away in 2001, and Mr. MacRae died in March 2009 at the age of 89, leaving the entirety of his estate to charity.

His generosity will help so many children, including those we care for who come from PEI. I only wish we could have known and thanked him while he was still alive. His donation has touched all our hearts.

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IWK is a special place

Mary Theresa is the Personal and Planned Gifts Officer at the IWK Health Centre Foundation.

As the parent of a chronically ill daughter, I want to share the story of my family’s miracle at the IWK Health Centre.

Everyone can imagine how difficult it is for parents to see their child in any degree of pain and how overwhelming it can be to know that they face major surgery or invasive testing. I can tell you from personal experience, it is the most critical and crushing time.

My daughter, Jody Lynn, was born March 20, 1982 in Sydney, N.S., by the time she was 18 months old she had a host of medical problems and always seemed to be in pain. It was very upsetting, but was just the beginning of a long process.

She was diagnosed at the age of 8 with inflammatory bowel disease, known as Crohn’s disease. The cause is not known, and there is no cure yet, and the symptoms can be excruciating – especially during a flare-up – including pain, diarrhea, bleeding, anemia and weight loss.  Jody would spend a lot of time over the next 10 years of her life being an inpatient at the IWK undergoing six major surgeries and countless procedures and tests.

We hear about miracles from Telethon and Radiothon hosts who tell us a story in a way that touches and articulates to everyone what a special place the IWK is.

What you don’t always see is how amazingly caregivers treat not only the patient, but also how they strive to make sure the family’s knowledge of an illness and lifestyle is part of the overall healing process.

Daughter Jody and grandson Cameron in 2009

At the IWK, caregivers don’t tell you how you feel – you tell them how you feel.  They are never condescending and constantly compassionate, taking care of the whole family as a unit that is essential to a child’s well being.  They also don’t just rely on drugs and treatment, they treat the patient’s life and educate families on how illness can be a part of it and not something that stops you from living. This knowledge and the inclusion of the family became part of our healing process.

Jody adopted the mantra of her favourite doctor, Micheline Ste. Marie: ‘It is my body; I know when something is wrong. Until you can prove otherwise, then it is.’ I have come to see that every doctor at the IWK lives by this motto.

Complications from Crohn’s, her inability to absorb nutrition, and the demands of pregnancy sent Jody back to the IWK Health Centre when she was 20, where she stayed for seven months. At one point, she was down to 86 pounds and was severely anemic. She was critical, but determined to carry her child to term, no matter the cost.

Expecting a grandchild should be a happy time, but it was mixed with concern for Jody. However, we never felt alone in this journey, as the doctors, nurses, staff – and even cleaning personnel — did everything they could to make Jody feel comfortable.

Cameron was born healthy in 2003, and every day I look at my grandson and know that it is a miracle that he is even with us. I credit Jody’s determination and the dedication of all staff and volunteers at the IWK who provided such excellent care to her and to our entire family.

It had always been my desire to want to do more for the IWK other than being a volunteer and a donor so when Jody became ill again in 2004 with complications from her Crohn’s, I moved to Halifax to help look after my grandson and applied for a position in the IWK Foundation.  I am honoured to work with the Foundation to help secure estate gifts.