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Leaving A Lasting Legacy - Alana's Story

Reposted with permission from our charity partners: North York General Foundation

The causes we hold close to our hearts reflect who we are as individuals and what we truly value. They also reflect important parts of our life journey. Alana-Kevin-Carter-NYGHfoundation.ca Alana and Kevin with their son Carter

For me and my family, North York General has always played a central role in our health care. It’s the site of our most joyous occasion — the birth of our son, Carter. It’s also where we go to get treated for illnesses and injuries. As a mom of a 10-year-old boy who loves to play sports, injuries happen!

Each year for the last 10 years, we’ve donated to North York General – to give back and say thanks for the exceptional care we receive. This year, we decided to leave a lasting legacy for our community through a planned gift to our community hospital. We did this by including North York General in our will.

Here’s why we did it …

Eleven years ago, before Carter, Kevin and I thought getting pregnant would be an uphill battle due to a pre-existing condition. So, when we found out I was pregnant, we felt truly blessed. Everything progressed perfectly, with the exception of morning sickness, and on the day of my delivery, we found ourselves at North York General. I laboured for a long time – too long if you ask me! But labour wasn’t progressing and I was moved into the operating room for a C-section. That’s when things took a turn.

I remember hearing Kevin say “Carter,” and at that moment, I knew we had a little boy. We had picked names for both genders. Then everything went dark.

I remember waking up the next day in the intensive care unit (ICU) not knowing what happened to my baby, not knowing what happened to me. It was terrifying. The ICU staff quickly reassured me that baby Carter was just fine. I was beyond relieved. I learned that I had suffered a fluke seizure that incapacitated me. I remained in the ICU for many days, recovering and undergoing a series of tests to determine what happened. To this day, there are no clear answers, but the seizure may have resulted from a rare and complex drug interaction.

Baby Carter North York General Foundation Baby Carter was born on October 08, 2008

What happened next was truly remarkable.

The staff at North York General’s Maternal and Newborn unit took care of baby Carter for a full two weeks. They fed him, bathed him and comforted him. They cared for him like he was their own son. They even worked with Kevin who was as scared as I was and helped him adapt to life as a new dad. My time in the ICU was difficult but I felt so comforted knowing that my son and I were both receiving the best possible care at our community hospital. When my condition stabilized, I was moved to the Maternal and Newborn Unit to be reunited with baby Carter. I want to recognize Dr. Ken Gamble and Corry Perez, registered nurse, for their outstanding care that extended to our entire family.

Extraordinary circumstances bring out people’s true characters. The doctors, nurses and staff that were there for us in one of our most vulnerable moments showed true compassion. They treated us like family and went above and beyond the call of duty. I will never forget that.

In the months and years that followed, we returned to North York General a number of times. There was an RSV infection that Carter contracted at a very young age, a number of febrile seizures when he ran a high fever, and more recently, sports-related injuries. In each and every circumstance, we were struck by the high-quality, compassionate care we received.

Community hospitals are essential for the health and wellness of a community.

I consider myself fortunate to have this unbelievable resource, full of caring individuals, in my community. That’s why I donate to North York General.

When it came time to draw up a will to protect our estate, we thought about how blessed we’ve been and how we can pay it forward to our community by leaving a lasting legacy donation to our community hospital. We picked 10 causes that we’re passionate about and reflect who we are as individuals. North York General is on the top of that list.

It’s my hope that our legacy gift and this story will inspire people to give. We encourage others to reflect on their experiences at North York General and consider a leaving a legacy gift to the next generation. A difference will truly be made.

With gratitude,

Alana