Three years ago, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. At the time, I was pregnant, scared, and uncertain about my future. But all I could think of at the time was whether my baby was going to be ok. Thankfully, at SHN’s Centenary hospital, I was not only able to deliver my baby, but also beat my cancer. I am now in my third year of remission, and the treatment I received from the doctors and nurses has humbled me and helped me develop a sense of pride.
Since then, I’ve been trying to give back to the hospital that has given me a new lease on life. I joined Scarborough Health Network Foundation because I wanted the Scarborough community to know about all the amazing things being done in our hospitals and be proud of it too. Scarborough is unique because there is a strong sense of community here. The thought that you can come from anywhere in the world, start a whole new life, and even meet people from your home country is such a comforting thought. It’s something to take pride in.
I’ve lived in Scarborough since 1982. My roots are deep here. Three of my five kids were born at the same Scarborough hospital, and they all finished high school here. I’m proud of the life we’ve built and value my community tremendously. SHN is a valued and essential part of that community. That’s why I’ve been volunteering and fundraising for them for the last eight years.
Since 2013, I’ve helped organize a Yearly Family Day Celebration and fundraising campaign for the Scarborough Hospitals. In 2018, I led a team of volunteers to raise $250,000 for SHN within five years, but we were able to do it in less than three. I’m not saying any of this to be boastful, it’s just an example of what we can do if we all work together to help SHN get the modern facilities and amenities it needs to better serve our community. I hope this inspires you, and that you will be joining us soon.
In 1976 I came to Canada. Scarborough was a vibrant new community then, with new homes, new people, and new opportunities. And in 1979, after working a few different jobs in the area, I opened a gift shop. This was the first of many business ventures that I was proud to have located in Scarborough. But my proudest accomplishments were yet to come.
I was blessed to have both of my sons at SHN’s General hospital. The staff gave us the best service possible, and it left a lasting impression on me. It was a simpler time, but the warmth of those doctors and nurses still fills the halls of SHN today, and enriches the lives of the people in the community who depend on their care. This is why I joined the SHN Foundation Board of Directors last year to help them raise funds. Because I wanted to give back to the community that has given me so much.
Scarborough Centenary hospital was the very first place I ever laid eyes on, as I was born there. It was my family and my community’s hospital throughout my childhood. I’ve lived in Scarborough through nursery school, grade school, and high school. My high school band was called “Eastbound To Kennedy”, named after all the subway signs on the Bloor-Danforth line directing people to Kennedy Station. Other unforgettable experiences like playing on the bluffs, soccer in the Robbie, tennis at Tam Heather, tobogganing at Masaryk Town and borrowing books from the Cedarbrae Library have enriched my life immeasurably.
What makes Scarborough unique is the feeling you get when you know that, despite your background, even if you have nothing in common, there’s a shared identity and sense of pride for anyone that has spent any time in Scarborough. It’s been just over a year since I started volunteering as a part of the SHN capital campaign. How motivating and inspiring it’s been to learn about the incredible work (while so under-resourced) the SHN team accomplishes every day. We need to support them as much as they support us.
When I found out I needed surgery to replace one of my knees, my local clinic recommended I go to SHN to see Dr. Rathbun. I live in the west end of Toronto so going all the way to Scarborough was no picnic. But meeting him and having the surgery was one of the most wonderful experiences I’ve ever had. At every point of contact, whether it was X-Rays, bloodwork, or meeting with specialists, the people at SHN were just incredible. I have been a donor ever since. I’ve even had my other knee replaced, and a new hip that’s only 8 months old. So, it’s safe to say that I feel right at home at SHN.
And it’s no surprise. Scarborough is a melting pot, and the people here are warm and fascinating. I cherish the conversations I’ve had with the nurses, orderlies, and patients I’ve met in my time here. And the staff is doing so much with so little. Their operating theatre and equipment are outdated. They are like a great crew trying to sail a very old ship. God knows what they could do with more modern facilities. But I know we will soon find out.
Scarborough is the Rodney Dangerfield of Canada. We don’t get no respect. And that’s unfortunate because it’s such a great place and we have so much to offer. I was raised here, went to primary and high school here. I even got my first degree at U of T Scarborough, which is where I now work. Scarborough is a part of me, so when I saw the opportunity to change public perception and bring us donor attention to improve the community, I jumped at it.
Our group – the Scarborough Community Renewal Organization (SCRO) – is an advocacy group that seeks to connect, promote, and renew Scarborough so it can be stronger and more prosperous. Some of what we do supports SHN. We want to see Scarborough have the kind of facilities that are found downtown. Our hospitals are serving a community of over 650,000 people who deserve world-class facilities. If we want things to change in Scarborough, we must continue to raise the profile of our hospitals and fundraise so we can start changing the narrative from, “I have to live here” to, “I get to live here.”
I began my career at SHN in 1999 at what was then the Rouge Valley Health System. I always wanted to be a nurse growing up because I saw how they helped people, and I wanted to do the same. I came to SHN for the opportunity and stayed for the people. My colleagues have been my inspiration throughout my decades-long journey with SHN. From the early mornings to the late nights, it’s working alongside people who care about our patients as much as I do that keeps me going. As SHN’s Chief Nursing and Allied Professionals Executive, I get to watch our incredible nursing teams provide exceptional care with compassion and trust, helping those both inside and outside our hospitals.
Representing the letter N for Nurse is an honour. Nurses are fierce, kind, empathetic and have an insatiable urge to help others. Nurses are the first people you see when you come into the world – and for many, the last person they are with when they have their last breath. Nurses are at the heart of health care and continue to inspire me.
This community means so much to me. I am most proud of the care we provide, and love how unique and diverse Scarborough is. There are so many individuals from different backgrounds who immigrate here and are able to raise their families in a place where they feel at home. They deserve access to the best health care close to home.
My name is Krishan and to me “P” means more than just being a partner to the community, it means participating in positive change and making an impactful and tangible contribution. When I was 10 years old, my family and I immigrated to Canada from Sri Lanka, and we immediately settled in Scarborough. So, a significant part of my childhood and early adult life were shaped by my experiences here. Naturally over the years, this place becomes a part of you. And for good reason.
If Scarborough’s diversity, vibrant culture, and amazing people don’t win you over, then the accessible sporting facilities and thoughtful medical care at SHN will. Over the years SHN has saved my life, my mother’s life and even delivered my two children. So, to say that I am grateful to them is a massive understatement. My way of saying thank you was not only to open a professional business and accounting firm to serve the community, but to also serve on SHN’s board of directors in multiple roles over the past nine years.
But my work is not done.
SHN has worked miracles with such limited resources, and they should not have to make do with old equipment and operating rooms any longer. They have supported our community for years, and now they need all of us to step up and support them.
Before I began working at SHN in 2014, I worked at many other hospitals. When I got here two things occurred to me immediately: One, how much more connected the hospital is to the community than the other organizations I’ve worked for. For instance, I don’t feel like the community that lives around other hospital networks in the city are really part of those hospitals. Whereas I feel like the community that lives around SHN is actually part of Scarborough Health Network. There’s a lot of Scarborough people that work at SHN – so it’s really a part of the community – and I don’t see that at a lot of other organizations. It’s a real benefit.
The second thing is that to make things safer, from a quality of care perspective, these hospitals need some love. We need updated buildings, newer technology and some forward thinking. We need people to donate and to support our community. Scarborough deserves more.
My name is Jude Francis, and my letter is R for Restaurant owner. But I think that R should really stand for resilient, because that is what businesses in Scarborough have had to be during the pandemic. Our restaurant, JC’s Banquet Hall, has served Scarborough for many years and we love that we have been able to help our community celebrate the special moments in their lives. To us, that is what supporting your community is all about.
Scarborough is home to over 600,000 people. People that have come from all over the world. The different ethnicities of Scarborough and the number of newcomers make it incredibly fascinating. Yet it has never lost that feeling of a small community because we all work together to make Scarborough better. That’s why I call it a little piece of heaven, and that’s why it’s so important that we support SHN. They take care of all of us. So, when we were given the opportunity to provide food for SHN frontline workers, we grabbed it.
But SHN and Scarborough deserve more than just food. We deserve facilities that match the quality of our medical staff. They have done so much, with so little, for so long. And we need to change that.
I was born at Centenary hospital in Scarborough and lived here for 10 years. My favourite places to go to are the giant movie theatre at Scarborough Town Centre and the Toronto Zoo. There are so many cool things to do here. But, to me, the most unique thing in Scarborough is the SRT line. I like it because a GO train line runs beside it. If you are lucky enough, you can pretend that the 2 trains are racing. It’s awesome.
I’ve been to Scarborough Centenary so many times that I know most of the nurses and doctors. They’re like my family away from home. You see, I was born with Sickle Cell Anemia and needed so many blood transfusions at the hospital. One time, when I was 5, I remember being in the hospital, and they couldn’t find a vein in my arm for the IV. So, one of the doctors decided to do an IV on my foot instead. And it worked! The staff there always do their best to help me and they deserve the best, too.
In grade one, I was hospitalized for Whooping Cough. My parents visited me as often as they could, but I was mostly alone. Thankfully, the nurses at the hospital were very kind to me and that was something that I never forgot. On the day I was discharged, I remember telling my mom that I wanted to help people just like the nurses helped me. So, she encouraged me to follow that dream, and I became a doctor.
I chose to work at SHN because I wanted to impact people’s lives and work in a community that was diverse. That diversity also applies to the economic status of Scarborough residents, which means it’s harder to raise funds to help bolster our medical programs than it is in more affluent areas. But that doesn’t change the fact that the people here need the same level of medical care. We need to invest more in the people who need us.
In 2003, I came to Scarborough. Coming from the Caribbean, I wondered if I would be accepted. I had no family or friends that could help me, and I was basically starting over. Then I got a job with SHN as an X-ray Technologist and gained a new family that embraced me and made me feel at home. So much so, that my son was born right here. That is what I love the most about SHN, the sense of community.
At SHN we enjoy each other’s company, and we try to bring that same joy to our patients by doing whatever we can to make their time here memorable. To do that, I have tried to learn a few different languages to better communicate with our patients. They really appreciate it, even if I can’t carry on a full conversation yet. We even offer to print our patients’ medical instructions in their native language to make sure they know exactly what they need to do.
In November of this year, it will be 18 years that I have been working at SHN. And even though I moved, I happily commute every day because Scarborough is still my home, and these are still my people.
My name is Darren, and my letter is Y for Youth Volunteer. From a very young age I’ve had a strong connection with Scarborough. My parents got married and settled here before having my older sister. I was born here too. So, growing up, we always felt like we were part of the community. Scarborough is such a cool place too. I love meeting new people of different cultures, and that happens every day here. Not to mention the amazing variety of food places and entertainment. It’s really one of a kind.
Volunteering at SHN is important to me, because we all depend on them. I volunteer there with my dad, and my parents encouraged me to volunteer because I really wanted to help SHN. I’ve seen other hospitals, and I don’t think any of them have equipment that is this old. The fact that the medical staff here can help so many people in spite of this is really inspiring. Our community and families deserve the same as every other community in Toronto, yet it seems we always get the short end of the stick. But I’m hoping that by volunteering and telling my story we can change that.