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Dec 2nd 2015

Introducing the Michael Garron Hospital

Introducing the Michael Garron Hospital

I cannot begin to tell you what great pleasure it gives me to write today on behalf of the physician staff as well as a member of the foundation board and perhaps most importantly as a friend of Berna and Myron Garron. This morning we announced an historic gift to Toronto East General Hospital. At $50 million dollars it is monumental.  It is the second largest gift to any hospital in Canadian history.

 

Our hospital will now be called the Michael Garron Hospital.  We will also use the opportunity to create a larger Toronto East Health Network that will tie all of this institution's partners across the city and provide a vehicle for further growth.

 

 

 

The Garrons in so many ways define the best of what I think makes being a good citizen. They embody what we all hope to be. Having built their success in this amazing and generous country, their long-standing commitment to give back, in order to support and enhance our most important and valued public institutions is extraordinary. In our rapidly changing, resource challenged healthcare environment, Canadians still expect and deserve the best evidence-based care.   Without the collective philanthropic spirit of all of us this would not be possible.   In 2010 we combined to give 2.1 billion dollars to various institutions.   A quick look through the recent past and one realizes that the Garrons have supported many of Canada's leading healthcare institutions.  Over the last five years alone, in addition to today, they have given away $30million to Sick Kids, $10million to Princess Margaret Hospital and $10million to IWK in Halifax, Nova Scotia .   Clearly they care very deeply about the country they live in.  That the Garrons now recognize our great hospital with this singularly unprecedented gift is personally very gratifying to me.  Over the last three years as I have come to know the Garrons, they have come to know and believe in TEGH and have expressed that support with a series of progressively larger gifts.   It is very fitting that we should celebrate a gift of this magnitude by renaming the hospital in honour of Michael Garron

 

Myron Garron grew up in Westport Nova Scotia, a small fishing village off the Fundy coast. If you look on a map it is quite remote, one of literally hundreds of unique and tightly-knit communities across this country.  His ultimate success was built on that foundation, long a tradition in the Maritimes, of local community and hard work.  My wife’s entire family has roots in the Maritimes.  My kids have spent every summer on Prince Edward Island.   I understand this ethos well.  As many other Maritimers have done over the years, Myron came to Toronto many years ago to pursue a career. While here, he met Berna while working at the Bank of Nova Scotia and started a family. Michael, their eldest, was born at TEGH.  At the age of six, Michael was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that ultimately claimed his life in 1975 at the age of 13. Michael's story is both intensely heartbreaking and ultimately inspirational. Before he died his parents made a promise that he would never be forgotten.  That promise has entirely informed their history of giving. Today represents the ultimate fulfillment of that pledge.  Michael Garron, like so many others, a child of the Toronto East community, finally came back home today.  His legacy will ultimately be borne out in the great things that this institution will do for many years to come.  It will be defined by excellence, compassion, courage and integrity.  It will lead by example and with a mandate of inclusivity.   In essence we will build on the very things that have brought us from 1929 to this remarkable day.

 

 

Watching the reaction of Berna and Myron to the unveiling of the new banner was very emotional for myself and the entire hospital community. Myron spoke with great pride today about his family, his son and their commitment to the Michael Garron Hospital.   A video of the full press conference can be seen here 

 

 

 

 

This hospital has occupied a unique place in our healthcare system, serving both the needs of this community as well leading on a provincial and national scale.  This has very much been the order of business for 86 years.  This key opened the doors in 1929: 

To borrow a little from our CEO Sarah Downey, today’s extraordinary gift essentially provides a key that opens the door to a whole new adventure. As our healthcare system evolves into the 21st century, this gift will ensure that we have access to leading-edge medical technology in order to provide the best care for our patients.  The creation of two research chairs will also provide a platform from which we will be able to innovate and lead .  For this we are eternally grateful to the Garrons

I will close on a personal note.   I have been a proud member of the surgical staff at Toronto East General Hospital over the last 20 years. We have accomplished many things and have several well-respected and talented departments. We are an integral part of the University of Toronto. As I look ahead I will be proud to continue to be a member of the medical staff at the new Michael Garron Hospital. I hope to be able to do so for many years to come.

 

 I am additionally thankful that today's announcement fell after the end of Movember!

 

 

Make sure you continue to follow the jewel at 825 Coxwell, as it heads into a bright future as the Michael Garron Hospital.  Special things happen here. It will always make you proud

 

Thank you Berna and Myron for sharing the memory of your son with all of us.

 

Rajiv

Comments

Posted: December 03, 2015

By: Peter K

Fabulous news for the community and a remarkable financial contribution that deserves recognition and gratitude for being so generous with their hard-earned wealth. Also I give thanks to staff like you Rajiv, because you always prioritize the patient experience, to do things like thoughtful discussions with patients and their family. We have a good thing going here and it should only get better. It makes me shudder to even think of the pain that the Garron parents felt back then. I have seen this before and it breaks my heart whenever you cross paths with it. Having said that, it's important for me to take a moment and think about all children who went our community hospital who suffered and passed before their time and to consider the new hospital name a tribute to all those children, none of which deserve any less of our respect or place in our life memories.

Posted: December 03, 2015

By: brian molony

The all too but assumed depressing front page of the Globe this morning -- overpayments by Ontario Hydro, a mass shooting in California -- was brightened and balanced by the exceptional generosity of the Garron Family. Kudos to all involved.

Posted: December 03, 2015

By: Mike Hayes

At a time when our world seems to be so challenging, we strive for "good news events". This is definitely a time to celebrate and to thank the Garron's for their dedication, generosity and spirit to make a profound difference. The Michael Garron Hospital will serve as a lasting tribute to Michael, helping thousands of patients for years to come. Thank You Mr. and Mrs. Garron!

Posted: December 03, 2015

By: Ray Belluz

Your article was very touching and I am sure it will be a great boost to the newly named hospital. Keep up the great work and to everyone at the hospital have a very healthy and happy holiday season.

Posted: December 03, 2015

By: Errol K Superville M.B.

First of all I want to congratulate you Rajiv for the wonderful commentary you have written in honour of Michael, his parents --Berna and Myron Garron, the Toronto East General Hospital, now called the Michael Garron Hospital.
I am proud to be your patient and grateful for the help you are administering to me in dealing with my recurrent kidney stones.
Throughout my 41 years in Family Practice I have worked at several Hospitals in Toronto including, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto East General Hospital, Doctors' Hospital, North York General Hospital and have enjoyed working at all these institutions very much.
My wife, Patricia and I share something in common with the Garron family in that we too lost a son, Christopher at the age of 6 years who was treated at the Hospital for Sick Children for a Brain Tumour.
I admire tremendously the magnificent generosity of the Garrons and I am sure they are blessed and will receive a hundred fold in return.

Posted: December 03, 2015

By: Colin Hung

Congratulations Toronto East General...I mean Michael Garron Hospital. It will be exciting to see this next phase of development and how it impacts health in the GTA. Our healthcare system is special but it needs support from the community as well as government. Hopefully this is a beacon for others to follow.

Rajiv, so happy for you. I know you've worked very hard along with other members of the Hospital leadership to make this happen. Healthcare needs more leaders like you.

Posted: December 03, 2015

By: Shelley

A very lovely tribute. Not only did we get to witness the Garron's generosity yesterday, but we got to hear more about their altruistic motivations for giving and what good, down to earth people they really are. I'd love to go fishing with Myron sometime and I am proud to say I work at the Michael Garron Hospital. #ThankYouGarrons

Posted: December 03, 2015

By: Tasker Kelsey

Wonderful achievement and great to see the family give back to the community.

Thanks for all you do.

Posted: December 03, 2015

By: andy macaulay

What an extraordinary and generous gift to such a deserving hospital. I'm heartened to see the Garron's generosity. Congratulations to you and all the staff of the hospital and Foundation.

Posted: December 03, 2015

By: Jennifer Keenan

What a wonderful and generous gift. It is inspiring to see what amazing things can come from tragic circumstances. Thank you to the Garron Family for your philanthropic spirit and making this a better city for all. And thank you, Rajiv, for instilling confidence in people like the Garrons that their money will be be put to amazing use. I have no doubt it will be!

Posted: December 03, 2015

By: Sheila Korman Sontz

There is a Hebrew expression, "tikkun olam" which translates as "repair the world". Together Rajiv and the Garrons have made a huge leap forward with this generous contribution towards repairing the world. Their choice to create light out of darkness, joy out of the tragedy of the loss of their son, is a shining example to us all. Every one of us must emulate this and give what we can of ourselves and our resources to help those in need. There is no higher purpose. My heartfelt congratulations to all. May the Michael Garron Hospital be the place of healing for many and inspire others. I am sure brilliant research and medical advances will come of this gift from which we all will benefit in some way.

Posted: December 03, 2015

By: Brian and Jan Bornstein

Rajiv, this is a monumental achievement for yourself and the hospital! Congratulations. It is very inspiring to see Great Canadians giving back to this Great country. The Garron's are clearly in the league. Rajiv and team...Thanks for all you do.... you are very much appreciated. All the very best of the Holiday Season.... B/J

Posted: December 03, 2015

By: Declan Murphy

What a wonderful gift and legacy! Great to see such wonderful philanthropy in Canada, most inspiring

Declan Murphy, Melbourne

Posted: December 03, 2015

By: Justin Dick

How invigorating to read such a positive story in the headlines today. Congratulations, Rajiv, and cheers to the incredible generosity of the Garron Family and to your leadership and hard work in making this possible.

Posted: December 03, 2015

By: Scott & Dana Hackney

Rajiv, thank you for sharing this incredible news. First of all, congratulations to you and all of your colleagues. Having the privilege of getting to know you and your staff over the years, we are confident that your thoughtfulness and compassion played an integral role in securing this historic gift. They also undoubtedly exemplify what the Michael Garron Hospital is all about. We live in the west end but have been lucky enough to come east to experience first hand (miraculous births of two children and a couple of successful 'man-stuff' procedures) the exceptional care and benevolence at TEGH. Enjoy the moment, grasp the future and thank you all.

Posted: December 03, 2015

By: Brenda and john Dushinski

Dear Rajiv,

What a beautiful, moving article. Your eloquence truly honours the memory of this young man.

Michael's family sound like extraordinary people and this hospital seems like one that all communities around the globe would wish for: " His legacy will ultimately be borne out in the great things that this institution will do for many years to come. It will be defined by excellence, compassion, courage and integrity. It will lead by example and with a mandate of inclusivity."

Congratulations to you and the entire Toronto community!

Warmest regards,
Brenda and John Dushinski
Calgary, AB

Posted: December 03, 2015

By: Bill Maurin

Rajiv, congratulations on this monumental achievement. I couldn't think of a better word than what you already came up with. I know these things take much time and effort and while the tremendous generosity of the Garrons is unprecedented, your passion and dedication to the cause has been instrumental in making this a reality. Congratulations!

Posted: December 04, 2015

By: Dave Carroll

Rajiv:

Congratulations on being part of such a meaningful experience. The funding will have an incredible impact in the treatment and research arenas but the Garron's act of generosity will also send positive ripples in all directions to inspire others to see themselves in each other, and to improve the world around them by caring.

This $50 million donation will part of your legacy as well Rajiv. I can imagine of good it feels to be associated to something that is undeniably good for others.

Posted: December 04, 2015

By: Karen Devon

How extraordinary that life has brought you together with this family-a perfect match. This will be a gift that continues to give well beyond all of us and you should be proud!

Karen Devon

Posted: December 04, 2015

By: Jesse Hayman

So amazing Rajiv!

Posted: December 04, 2015

By: Marvin Karon

Congratulations to you for the role you played in securing the donation from the Garron family -- and I have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for people who are so incredibly generous. As someone has already written, in a world where the news seems to be so predominantly bad on so many fronts, this story is an inspiration...and a reminder of the way things could be. Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season. Marvin (Karon)

Posted: December 05, 2015

By: Eric Murphy

Hi Rajiv: thank you for sharing news of this incredible gift to your place of healing. It brought back memories of my family's fight against our 8 year old son's cancer, some 20 years ago.
We were fortunate in that Julien won his hard-fought battle and is now a towering, glowing young man. The hospital for Sick Kids was full of plaques commemorating the loss of "sweet Richard" or Susan, etc. I asked where the winners were. Staff told me that those who lost children came back to commemorate something in their child's name. And apparently the winners fled to the hills, trying to forget their ordeal. Well we came back. We held a fund raiser and put four TV, VCR and Nintendo units in the hospital as well as a statue of Spiderman to say, "Super heroes visit but they leave and so can you.".
Cheers, Eric

Posted: December 05, 2015

By: Terry Maloney

A truly remarkable announcement for the hospital and all related facilities. And as others have suggested , a great example of generosity and good news in an otherwise depressing week of news in the world.

Rajiv - also an unprecedented achievement for you personally and for the Foundation. Also confirms my personal thoughts about patient care in this wonderful facility.

Posted: December 06, 2015

By: Tom Little

First heard your sound bite on the radio and then was pleased to get your email with the details of such an outstanding gift by the Garron Family. They have my (and many other peoples) complete admiration for being so generous.

Congratulations to you because I suspect you played a significant role in acquiring this donation. And I believe the Garron's trust you to make sure their generosity is put to the best possible use because you make sure your patients get the best possible care each and every day.

Posted: December 07, 2015

By: Susan

I was moved to tears as I read this post. Your words are heartfelt and genuine. Your pride in this amazing medical institution is evident. I got to know you through a patient of yours this year. You and your staff are helping us through his challenges with prostate cancer.

When he shared the news of his initial diagnosis, he was optimistic. He has never wavered publicly from a place of genuine positivity. It was not until I met you that I was able to get fully on board with that optimism. I never went to a place of fear for his life, but I was very concerned about the process and the long term implications to his mental and physical well-being. You have been an integral part of our positivity and you inspired him to use this experience as an opportunity to educate people about prostate cancer and the importance of taking ownership of your health. You, Dr. Singal, have given me peace of mind in knowing he is being well taken care of and receiving the best possible medical treatment. I admire who you are as a human being and as a surgeon.

It is important for you to know the positive impacts you have on your patients. I cannot thank you enough for what you have done for him. Because of you and your medical team, he is doing incredibly well and I get to keep him as an extraordinary component in my life. He is a good man and an amazing father. You have made a difference in our family’s life.

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