Page 1

FALL 2020/WINTER 2021




Wellness support for staff

The power of giving Donations in action at MSH

Special Insert

Battling COVID-19 A recovered patient tells his story pg.16

A donation brings in a dedicated specialist


Ethan’s big heart pg.6

Cancer care carries on pg.20

Thank you for supporting

Although we are unable to gather this year, the true power of community is coming together to make a difference during these unprecedented times. Thanks to your generous support over $150,000 was raised to benefit mental health care at Markham Stouffville Hospital. Thank you to the following donors who have generously supported.


2020 SUPPORTERS Bachra Insurance Agency Ltd. Lotus Funeral & Cremation Centre Amrithal Bachra Markham Radiologists Bill & Manjit Bachra Arthur & Jane Pagel Baylis Medical Co. Meera Singh Best Electric Co. Multi Risk Insurance Brokers Inc. Bullock Auto Ctr. RPPL Industries Candy International Ltd. Shah Canada Group of Companies Anika Chabra Skylink Capital Corp. City of Markham The Co-operators Group Dr. Zakir Esufali Medicine Professional Corp. The Foray Group David & Sharon Dusangh TD Bank Honeywell Times Group Rajit Khanna Liberty Development

HEAR BETTER, LIVE BETTER! Premium Product Promotion on now! FREE 90 Day Hearing Aid Trial!

Exceptional Sound Quality • Delivers clear, rich sound in any situation • Automatically adapt to environment, reducing listening effort in noise

All COVID-19 Safety Protocols in Place!

Connects to Smartphones, TV and more

• A world’s first that connects and streams from any Bluetooth Device • Enjoy hands-free calls • Stream sound to both ears for an exceptional hearing experience

Rechargeable models

• Enjoy a full day of hearing and streaming • Quick charging and easy to use • Now you can charge on the go with a portable charging case Markham Stouffville Hospital

905.471.4479 110 Copper Creek Dr., Suite 105, Markham, Ontario MHC_AuctionPoster_2020.indd MHC_AuctionPoster_2020.indd MHC_AuctionPoster_2020.indd MHC_AuctionPoster_2020.indd MHC_AuctionPoster_2020.indd MHC_AuctionPoster_2020.indd

1 1 1 1 1 1

2020-10-02 2020-10-02 2020-10-02 2020-10-02 2020-10-02 2020-10-02

1:24 1:24 1:24 1:24 1:24 1:24

CONTENTS NEWS & COMMUNITY 4 MSH NEWS What’s new at MSH and in our community 8 MSH HEROES Recognizing the heroic efforts of our MSH family 29 MARK YOUR CALENDAR  Upcoming events and fundraisers to add to your schedule 30  COMMUNITY EVENTS  Your community, your hospital, your support 32  A LEGACY OF GIVING Ruth and Bernard Tong’s gift looks to the future

FEATURES 6 S  TAY SAFE STAY HOME FUNDRAISER 12-year-old sells t-shirts to raise money for COVID-19 Relief Fund 12 PARTNERING WITH LONG TERM CARE HOMES (LTCH)  MSH supports LTCH staff across the region throughout the pandemic 16 ON THE COVID-19 FRONT LINES  It takes a team of health care workers to help one patient recover 24  

MENTAL WELLNESS SUPPORT A generous donor targets the wellbeing of MSH staff and physicians during the pandemic


CANCER CARE UNINTERRUPTED Treatment at MSH’s cancer clinic doesn’t miss a beat

Eileen Russell, grateful patient


Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation

Cover photo: Tim Fraser


MARKHAM.STOUFFVILLE.TM EDITOR Henrietta Walmark SENIOR CREATIVE DIRECTOR Kendra Schumacher ART DIRECTOR Angela Iori SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Ryan Izokaitis CONTRIBUTORS Vawn Himmelsbach, Dick Snyder, Nina Dragicevic PROJECT MANAGERS Angela Iori, Caitlin Moorcroft PHOTOGRAPHER Tim Fraser MARKHAM STOUFFVILLE HOSPITAL, EDITORIAL ADVISORS Cheryl Andrews, Madeline Cuadra, Yeena Peng, Suzette Strong PUBLISHER Star Metroland Media PRINT & DISTRIBUTION CO-ORDINATOR David Letros ADVERTISING SALES Madeline Cuadra, Star Metroland Media, Healthy.Together.Markham.Stouffville.™ is published twice a year by Star Metroland Media Content Solutions, in partnership with the Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation. Copyright 2020. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the consent of the publisher. The material in this publication is intended for general information purposes only. While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the material, it does not constitute advice or carry the specific endorsement of either Star Metroland Media or Markham Stouffville Hospital. Readers are encouraged to consult their doctor to discuss their health concerns.

Dear Friends, These are extraordinarily challenging times. All of us who work in health care settings are being called upon as never before. Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSH) staff and physicians are showing selfless courage every day. We can’t thank our MSH Heroes enough for their commitment to our patients and community. During this remarkable time of change, courage and care, MSH is deeply grateful to a community that stands by our side. We can’t tell you how welcome the thank you cards, the donations, and the small and large acts of kindness are. The overwhelming support you’ve shown means a great deal to everyone at MSH. Generous community support played a fundamental role in the hospital’s beginnings and it’s just as essential today as MSH celebrates 30 years of caring. Over the last three decades, MSH has doubled in size, taken responsibility for another site and is serving a much larger catchment area than ever anticipated. That is why our growing organization will be getting a new corporate name. While our individual hospital site names will remain, our new overarching name will become Oak Valley Health and serve to unify our hospitals, as well as the growing communities we care for. And to complement the new corporate name, we are thrilled to be launching a new logo, in early 2021, that better reflects our proud heritage and our ‘honoured to care’ culture. It sets the path toward our extraordinary future while respecting and preserving the roots of our community. It’s no coincidence to find “unity” in “community” — that’s the true power of community. In the face of crisis, unity is our best action. While there may still be a way to go in this fight against COVID-19, knowing how our community always comes together for MSH, especially in the face of unprecedented challenge, proves that, together, we will get through this crisis. We are stronger together. In this issue of Healthy.Together.Markham.Stouffville.TM you’ll meet some of the dedicated people — both on the health care front lines and through their incredible generosity as donors — who have come together during the pandemic to deepen their commitment to the community and to our hospital.

Jo-anne Marr, President & CEO, Markham Stouffville Hospital

Suzette Strong, CEO, Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation Healthy.Together. Fall 2020/Winter 2021




WE’RE SOCIAL! Your stories are inspiring. Tell us about your experience and why you love MSH. @MSHospital

Kathy Merkle, Dr. John Maxted, Cathy Teolis and Brenda Wilson

OUR FAMILY MEDICINE TEACHING UNIT TURNS 10! It all started in a little white trailer. That was where a team of four physicians and 10 staff began caring for patients and training the next generation of family physicians when MSH opened its Family Medicine Teaching Unit (FMTU) in 2010. “For our first two months, we were in a trailer in the parking lot of the Health Services Building next to the hospital, waiting for our offices to be ready,” says

Dr. John Maxted, one of the original physicians who is still a member of the FMTU. “It was a very interesting way to start practicing.” Also called Health for All Family Health Team, the FMTU was approved by the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto to train new physicians during their postgraduate residency in family medicine. The FMTU also has the distinction of being MSH’s first

academic teaching program. Over the last 10 years, the FMTU has grown to a team of 60 that serves 11,000 patients and trains 18 to 20 residents each year. “I’m so proud of how our FMTU has evolved and the exceptional primary care we provide to our community,” says Dr. Caroline Geenen, Chief of Staff at MSH. Dr. Maxted adds that “it’s especially rewarding to witness the many residents who graduate through our program and continue to practice right here in Markham, including in our own hospital and FMTU.”

USING TECHNOLOGY TO ENHANCE THE PATIENT EXPERIENCE Patients and families are benefiting from the launch of a new Kids Health Alliance (KHA) virtual care project that allows the care team at MSH’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to consult experts at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) with the added used of video. The introduction of video will provide the SickKids team with


Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation

the ability to see the baby in real time and determine if the baby needs to be transferred. Currently in Ontario, 49 NICUs access the province’s Neonatal Consult, Transfer and Transport program to seek input from paediatric and neonatal medical specialists. Up until now, this program has been available exclusively over the phone.

Dr. Navneet Sharma and NICU nurse

This project will improve health outcomes at MSH and allow for enhanced quality care close to home.



COVID-19 swab

COVID-19 ASSESSMENT CENTRE In response to the increase in COVID-19 cases in our region, MSH opened a COVID-19 Assessment Centre on March 18, 2020. And in just over eight months, the dedicated team of interprofessional staff has performed a staggering amount of tests – over 40,000 swabs! The team in the Assessment Centre comprised of nurses, registered practical nurses, allied health professionals, physicians (primary and emergency), registration clerks and support services staff, is focused on

Avery Atkinson with Javad Movasseli, senior orthopaedic technologist

OUR FRACTURE CLINIC MOVES TO A NEW, LARGER HOME In an exciting step toward ensuring an extraordinary patient experience at MSH, one of the busiest clinics in the hospital has moved into a brighter and bigger space. The new, larger Fracture Clinic is now located in the lower

delivering safe, high quality care to each and every person who comes to the Assessment Centre. What makes the Assessment Centre so successful is the staff’s courage and ability to adjust to meet the changing needs of our patients, community and hospital. What started as a walk-in for symptomatic patients and changed to an appointment model to minimize wait time and crowding, has most recently grown with the addition of more registration staff to manage the significant upswing in volumes. Using this same agile approach the team has planned for even more increased volumes during cold and flu season – with an expansion of the COVID-19 Assessment Centre. level of building A in Clinic #5 as part of the Canadians of Pakistani Origin Orthopaedic Centre. Nearly double the size of the previous space, the new Fracture Clinic has been designed to include enhanced COVID-19 safety precautions including plexiglass screens and physically distanced seating, to maintain the health and safety of our patients. Some of the new clinic upgrades include: • Six private treatment bays • Four spacious casting bays • Larger treatment and assessment spaces • Two x-ray machines The new Fracture Clinic was funded, in part, by the generosity of our donors and the important work of the MSH Foundation.

Anthony Zambri, baby Ava and Athena Efstratiou

When Athena Efstratiou came to MSH to give birth to her first baby, little did she know that a second surprise awaited her. With the help of the team of nurses in labour and delivery, and just hours after the birth of baby Ava, her partner Anthony Zambri proposed. Anthony had wanted to propose for a while, but with a new baby on the way he never found the perfect time, until now. Anthony approached the nurses on duty and told them what he was planning. The nurses were excited to help. While Anthony got Athena’s best friend on FaceTime, a nurse attached a new ID band to her wrist with the important question on it. The nurses wanted to do more, and crafted a very special onesie for baby Ava which said “Will you marry dad?”. It took Athena a few seconds to understand what was going on and then, with baby Ava in her arms, Athena said Yes! “I didn’t expect it at all. All the nurses were in the room and my best friend was on the phone. It was perfect. There were a lot of tears,” Athena said with a laugh. The nurses were honoured to help make Anthony and Athena’s childbirth story even more memorable. Going above and beyond is just part of what the team does to ensure an extraordinary experience for every patient. Healthy.Together. Fall 2020/Winter 2021


Marcus, Ethan and Alexander Angelone



iving back to the community isn’t just for corporations — or grown-ups. Ethan Angelone was inspired to fundraise for MSH’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, raising close to $2,500 by designing and selling t-shirts. Ethan is 12 years old, however that didn’t stop him from coming up with an idea, spreading the word about his fundraiser and even learning how to use a spreadsheet (with a little help from his parents, Sylvia and Julian). “It was really fun, actually,” says Ethan. “I liked using the spreadsheet, I liked seeing how much people cared about the fundraiser and I liked going around to people’s houses and delivering the t-shirts. My teacher even ordered one.” He came up with the idea to fundraise while his family was sitting around the dinner table, talking about 6

Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation

how so many other families were struggling during the pandemic. Yet, Ethan and his two brothers were “eating like kings,” so he started to think about how he could make a difference. Ethan’s first thought was a bake sale, “then I realized how messy it would get.” He landed on the idea of

selling t-shirts and immediately set to designing a logo — a heart with a heartbeat running through it. “I wanted it to be for everybody,” he says, “so I drew a home [inside the heart], because everybody is staying home.” The Angelones then contacted a family friend, Jim Paras from the T-shirt Gang, who produced the Stay Safe Stay Home t-shirts at cost. Ethan decided that all money raised would go toward MSH’s COVID-19 Relief Fund. His dad Julian, a builder and founder of Angelone Homes, is an event sponsor and supporter of the MSH Foundation. Ethan and his brothers were all born at MSH and his family lives in the community, only five kilometres from the hospital. “We were talking to our children about how we wish we could help other people more during this time and thinking about who to donate to,” says Sylvia.


I learned about how generous others can be when it comes to helping people.

The family felt it was important to support a cause in their own community. Julian and Sylvia promoted Ethan’s fundraiser on social media, and the MSH Foundation spread the word online. “We also started calling people [to tell them] that I was doing a fundraiser — my basketball team, my coaches,” says Ethan. Sylvia helped Ethan set up a process to keep track of orders and payments. The t-shirt campaign ran over the first two weeks of May, and in total they sold about 170 t-shirts — raising close to $2,500. “On the first day we had 30 to 40 orders. My mom and I were super excited because we did not expect that — there was email after email,” says Ethan. “I learned about how generous others can be when it comes to helping people.” The family hand-delivered most of the t-shirts, in the late afternoons and evenings. “Ethan would do a curbside drop-off,” says Julian. It became part of their “COVID rou-

tine,” where they went for a drive, dropped off t-shirts and spread a little joy in their community. “Our family had groceries and toilet paper,” says Julian. Not every family was so lucky at the height of the pandemic. “So this is a good lesson for our 12-year-old, and our eight- and six-year-olds as well,” he says. “They got involved with the process, too.” It also motivated some of Ethan’s friends to come up with their own fundraising initiatives. Indeed, Ethan is one of many kids who reached out to MSH during the pandemic to give back in some way. Kids and schools wrote thank you messages to frontline workers and sent words of encouragement to patients. Some hosted fundraisers, and some donated (along with their families) personal protective equipment (PPE). “No matter if it’s big or small, every dollar counts,” says Allan Bell, vice president of community relations and corporate partnerships with MSH Foundation. “Collectively through these community events last year we raised over $400,000. You start adding it up, and wow, it’s amazing.” Fundraising inspires others to

ART INSPIRATION Ethan Angelone created a t-shirt design that could resonate with everyone in the community. He drew a home inside a heart to illustrate that people are staying home to keep each other safe.

contribute, and when it begins at a young age, it often inspires a lifelong passion for helping others and giving back to the community. “We find that people who get involved in supporting organizations at a young age will continue to give back throughout their life,” says Allan. Fundraisers also help to educate the community about why hospitals need to raise money in the first place. For example, government doesn’t fund the purchase of equipment, such as beds, CT scanners and ultrasound machines. And as MSH works to combat COVID-19, the community’s generosity helps equip the hospital with life-saving supplies. Every gift inspires and empowers dedicated frontline staff, from financial contributions to donations of PPE and prepared meals and snacks — helping to flatten the curve and save lives. Community events can be as simple as a bake sale or as intricate as a gala dinner. But due to COVID-19, many fundraising events had to be cancelled or postponed. In response, the community has come up with creative ideas to host virtual events or sales that abide by physical distancing guidelines. Or, in Ethan’s case, to sell custom-designed Stay Safe Stay Home t-shirts. During unprecedented times, “it’s amazing how communities have come together,” says Allan. Anyone who has a fundraising idea — including kids — can get in touch with the MSH Foundation at or Healthy.Together. Fall 2020/Winter 2021



You won’t see MSH Heroes in capes or costumes however, you will see them walking the halls of the hospital every day. Our heroes save lives, combat illness and go above and beyond to provide compassionate care to our patients, and even more so now during the COVID-19 pandemic. MSH Heroes have been recognized by a grateful patient, family, peer or community supporter and honoured with a donation to support exceptional patient care close to home. Here’s to 30 more years of heroes making a difference!

“THE ROLE MODEL” Rona McKey Registered nurse


ona McKey is one of the original staff of the hospital. It’s been 30 years since MSH opened its doors, and Rona was here from the beginning. In fact, she joined the hospital two months before it opened in March 1990. “I was part of an amazing team of 13 nurses, from nine different hospitals,” she says. “We came together along with five obstetricians, three anaesthetists, 12 family doctors and support staff to build a family birthing unit that provided exceptional care to our growing community.” She has since welcomed countless babies into the world. “It’s a privilege to be a part of someone’s most precious moments,” she says. “I’ve been fortunate to see some of these babies graduate and return to MSH as nurses and physicians.” Since those early days, Rona has diversified her career. Today she is an operating room nurse, extending her care and compassion to surgical patients. “I value my role in easing the stress and anxieties associated with the surgical experience.” Rona’s dedication has shaped multiple projects and programs 8

at MSH. For this, she has been honoured with a gift of thanks through an MSH Heroes donation. “Rona puts her whole heart into her work,” notes a former colleague. “She has a wealth of knowledge and is happy to share. My final year of work was a pleasure because I got to work most of my shifts with Rona.” Rona’s contributions extend beyond the hospital. Since moving to Markham in 1988 she has received numerous commendations, including an award from the mayor for her volunteerism. However, to be recognized as an MSH Hero, she says, is something very special. “To know this recognition comes from someone whom I admire and have aspired to emulate in my nursing practice exceeds even the heartfelt gratitude I’ve felt with each birth announcement I’ve been named in, each expression of thanks, or nomination received. I am genuinely honoured,” Rona says. “I am thrilled to know my contributions have an impact. I will always stand for the golden rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ Then, everyone is a hero.”

Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation



Dr. Paul Lokoff Chief of Anaesthesia


r. Paul Lokoff’s ties to MSH run deep. Fresh from the University of Toronto, Dr. Lokoff was working in Southern California when he got the call to join MSH. Missing Canada, he left the sunny beaches for what was back then a tiny hospital in a cornfield and never looked back. Starting out on day one in 1990, Dr. Lokoff was one of only three anaesthesiologists. Today, as the long-time Chief of Anaesthesia, he has been instrumental in growing a dedicated team of highly talented anaesthesiologists. Dr. Lokoff has marked many personal and professional milestones over the last 30 years. With the help of fellow staff, he learned to ballroom dance in the hospital auditorium the week before his wedding which was attended by many of his colleagues. And his son was born at the hospital — and is now a resident in anaesthesia. “MSH has been a huge part of my life,” he says. He considers himself extremely fortunate to be a founding member of such a uniquely supportive and patient-focused culture.

And he’s developed many friendships that he deeply values. So much so that his generous colleagues and friends recently recognized him with an MSH Heroes donation through the MSH Foundation. Dr. Lokoff is very proud of the leading role that anaesthesiologists have played in the evolution of care at MSH. One important initiative is the acute pain service developed 20 years ago, in response to the increasing complexity of post-operative pain. This leading-edge work also led to the development of an opioid reduction strategy at MSH. “With the devastating consequences of the opioid crisis, our team has made a multitude of changes to minimize or eliminate opioid use,” says Dr. Lokoff. He continues to wear many hats, as a department chief, educator and clinician. And in each of these roles, what he shares with fellow MSH Heroes is an intense focus on the patient. “I truly enjoy looking after a nervous child, a sick patient or a labouring patient in pain — and doing my best to make their experience the best it can be.”

Healthy.Together. Fall 2020/Winter 2021




Patient care director of medicine


lizabeth (Liz) Lalingo remembers the early days at MSH fondly. She joined the team two months before the hospital opened its doors. That makes her one of the original staff — those who have shaped the evolution of the hospital for more than 30 years. It also means that, during those first two months back in 1990, she did everything from writing procedural policies to helping to outfit rooms with equipment. “It was a great way to start. You create relationships very early on. Not just with staff, but at all levels of the organization. The bonds you develop from day one are very unique.” Elizabeth was born in Richmond Hill and studied in Toronto. When she heard that a new hospital was being built in Markham, she leapt at the chance, recognizing a rare opportunity to help build something amazing. She began her career as a respiratory therapist and is now patient care director of medicine, a role that comes with a portfolio of responsibilities that seems impossibly vast. It includes critical care, access and flow, respiratory therapy, palliative care, complex continuing care, Alternate Level of Care and the Integrated Stroke Unit. She 10

also oversees many of the teams who care for COVID-19 patients and has been instrumental in leading the creation of several hospital clinics. As her career developed at the hospital — with some time off to raise her three children, all born at MSH — she eagerly embraced opportunities to expand her expertise, taking on multiple projects in addition to her daily duties. How does she do it all? “You have to be very well organized and have a great team. And I’m lucky to have a great administrative assistant, too.” The grateful family member who recognized Elizabeth to be an MSH Hero with a gift of gratitude stated: “I’m sure Liz is a very busy person but when she was working to help my mother it felt like we were her only priority.” Elizabeth is humbled by those words. “I really do believe that patient care comes first and it doesn’t matter what else is on your plate. We’re here for our patients and their families. And whatever I can do to help them, big or small, I will make that my priority. I feel that it’s just my job, and yet somebody felt that I made a difference in their lives… that is really special.”

Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation


Meet the winners of MSH’s Honoured to Care Awards 1

The Honoured to Care Awards were created in 2018 to recognize our staff, physicians, and volunteers for going above and beyond in living our values of respect, trust, commitment, compassion and courage.

The 2019/2020 winners are: 2

1. RESPECT – Silva Nercessian Manager, Emergency Department (nominated in her previous role as manager of integrated risk management) 2. TRUST – Lizette Almodal Patient registration clerk 3. COMMITMENT – Suzanne Vanderlip Professional practice leader


4. COMPASSION – Jennifer Muir Social worker, outpatient mental health 5. COURAGE – Rosemarie Ramirez Registered nurse, cardiology and medicine

Visit to

If there is a special staff, volunteer, nurse, doctor or an everyday hero who made a difference in your life, recognize them by giving a gift of gratitude at


Healthy.Together. Fall 2020/Winter 2021



WORKING TOGETHER FOR THE LONG TERM MSH partners with community long-term care homes during COVID-19, supporting home staff across the region with education and training | BY NINA DRAGICEVIC


t’s in the DNA of health care workers to provide support to the most vulnerable populations. In fact, years before the pandemic landed, MSH was already working closely with long-term care homes (LTCHs) in the community through a nurse led outreach team. For the past several years, these outreach teams have been supporting LTCHs within the hospital’s catchment area to facilitate enhanced care for residents. So at the start of the pandemic, when the province requested hospitals to step in and help LTCHs, MSH already had relationships established. MSH’s mobile outreach team plays a supportive role for many of the region’s long-term care facilities, preventing unnecessary hospital admissions and facilitating transfer back when an admission occurs. This is consistent with the hospital’s guiding vision: ‘Care beyond our walls’.” “For our hospital, COVID-19 has reinforced that vision,” says Cheryl Osborne, patient care director of MSH’s emergency and ambulatory services. “And we’re honoured to


Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation

do it. The pandemic has brought that vision to life for me like never before. It’s absolutely saving hundreds of lives across the region. Now, in a proactive way, we need to forge new partnerships and work together to fight the second wave. We can’t do it all, and our community partners can’t do it all,” says Cheryl. “We’ve seen that in longterm care. When we’ve shared information and resources, it’s made a huge difference.” The first wave of COVID-19 quickly became an urgent priority for hospitals across the country. And for frontline health care workers, the next few months were a blur. “Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve been working 18-hour days, seven days a week, here at the hospital,” says Cheryl. “We’ve been one of the hardest-hit hospitals in the province. Right from the very beginning, York Region was one of the busiest areas. We were trying to manage our internal processes.” By April, Cheryl says it was clear LTCHs were struggling with outbreaks. And while cases dropped over the summer months, they started to ramp up again in the fall,

resulting in new outbreaks. Public Health assigns each LTCH a colour based on pandemic risk: red means the home is in an outbreak crisis; yellow denotes issues that require improvement but are manageable; and green means there may be COVID-19 cases present but the situation is resolving well. Some LTCHs that had progressed to green in the summer months are now turning back to yellow or red. “We must help homes that are yellow or red — and help them quickly — or transferring patients to hospital will be their only option,” says Cheryl. “That’s not what the patients want, that’s not what the homes want, but without the proper support it will be an escalating situation with no alternative.” Which isn’t ideal for hospitals either, with increased pressure put on already limited resources. In the spring, MSH rapidly pulled together a comprehensive community response; mobile team of health care professionals were dispatched to LTCHs in need. Cheryl offered to helm the mission, since she was familiar with the LTCH


Nurse practitioner Hilary Eaton with Fatima Noman, infection prevention and control practitioner

training program. Fatima Noman, medical microbiologist and an infection prevention and control (IPAC) practitioner, was enlisted to support the taskforce. Their work continues on to this day. When MSH’s outreach team first arrived at the LTCHs, they encountered some concerning behaviour. Home staff were layering themselves in PPE, wearing two pairs of gloves, three masks, multiple layers of gowns — even goggles with face shields on top. It was clear they were anxious. Fatima describes the staff’s “irrational use” of PPE as a symptom of another, more critical problem: lack of training. “The first thing,”

she says, “was to alleviate their fear and give them confidence in proper use of PPE.” Next came the establishment of a training program built on repetition and consistency, which Fatima believes is critical to ensuring the new learnings stick once the mobile outreach team leaves. “If we teach them once, they will forget it,” she says. “So I developed a ‘train the trainer’ program, and we trained ‘IPAC champions’ in the homes. Right now, in 17 homes, there are 79 IPAC champions that I have personally trained.” Hilary Eaton, a nurse practitioner, was reassigned from her cardiology

unit to pivot from one role to the next. She first went to the hospital’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre, where she spent 10 hours a day screening patients in the triage tent. She was then dispatched to longterm care and retirement homes, and within weeks was further assigned to Participation House’s various community homes (congregate settings for adults with disabilities). “We’re an extra set of hands and we’re new ideas,” says Hilary. “We have experience in an acute care setting and can make it applicable and useable for community settings.” One week, she drove to an LTCH in Kleinburg that was in outbreak

Healthy.Together. Fall 2020/Winter 2021



There’s a lot of work ahead, and a lot of uncertainty, however MSH is committed to going beyond our walls and helping in any way we can

crisis. She would wake up at 4 a.m. to train night-shift staff who were finishing their shifts; she then sat with patients with dementia to gain their trust before swabbing them. “I absolutely believe in the work we’re doing. Lives are being saved,” says Hilary. The taskforce spent months in pandemic-affected homes, touring facilities, talking to staff and performing comprehensive risk assessments. They then identified gaps, drafted action plans, prepared customized education materials and personally trained staff. Then they came back. They performed audits, talked to staff again and updated training in problem spots. They’re continuing to provide support and will continue to do so throughout the duration of the pandemic, as necessary. “Where we’re needed, our teams will keep going back,” says Cheryl. Initially, this helped to bring LTCHs from red to yellow to green

Julia Scott, vice president of clinical programs and chief nursing executive

in about six weeks. But with cases rising in Ontario once again, outbreaks are recurring in LTCHs. And they continue to face a number of other challenges, including province-wide staff shortages that COVID-19 has exacerbated. MSH has a mobile outreach team of nurses and nurse practitioners at the ready, to be deployed as needed. “It’s our goal to help them stand on their own two feet,” says Julia Scott, vice president of clinical programs and chief nursing executive at MSH. “We’re helping them with policies and processes for PPE, hand hygiene, screening — the same things we’re doing in our hospital. And we’re working collaboratively with them through their leaders and IPAC champions.” MSH is now considered an IPAC

hub, and the mobile outreach team will go back into LTCHs to support home staff with education and training, while IPAC champions are continuing with the safety programs developed during the first wave. “We adapt to what’s necessary in a particular home, what their needs are and what the situation is with respect to COVID-19,” says Julia. “Our goal is to build capacity.” “That’s why we were early to the game; we were involved in LTCHs before the provincial mandate came out for hospitals to get involved,” says Julia. “We realize we’re part of the system of health in our catchment area. There’s a lot of work ahead, and a lot of uncertainty, however MSH is committed to going beyond our walls and helping in any way we can.” Healthy.Together. Fall 2020/Winter 2021


Frank Scali, grateful patient


Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation



It takes a team of health care workers to help recovering COVID-19 patients who often take months to get better


s the first wave of the pandemic escalated in spring, Markham became York Region’s hot spot with 22 per cent of the Region’s COVID-19 cases. And some of Ontario’s highest numbers of COVID-19 patients were treated in MSH’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU). MSH responded by opening an on-site COVID-19 Assessment Centre. Up until October 13, the hospital had tested over 40,000 people, confirming 1,240 positive cases and admitting 126 patients. Of those, 30 per cent were sent to the ICU; 28 per cent of admitted patients were intubated, spending an average of 19 days on a ventilator. Some patients, however, spend much longer rehabilitating in hospital — and their recovery process

is still far from over. One of those patients is Frank Scali. In midMarch, Frank’s wife and one of his sons began experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Shortly afterward, Frank came down with a fever, accompanied by body aches. A few days later, he was drying off after a shower when his legs gave out and he fell to the floor. “I remember coming out of the shower and within seconds I fell to the floor. I had no strength in my arms or my legs to lift myself up, and I was lucky that my wife and one of my sons were here,” says the 75-yearold Markham resident. His wife, Alfonsa, immediately called 911. “I remember talking to the ambulance attendant and I remember being taken into the hospital —

Healthy.Together. Fall 2020/Winter 2021



Frank and Alfonsa Scali

and that is all that I remember,” says Frank. The next month and a half are absent from his memory. Frank tested positive for COVID-19 and was admitted to MSH. Three days later, he was put on a ventilator, yet the virus continued to wreak havoc on his body. “Frank’s doctor called and told me he was very sick and they might have to intubate,” Alfonsa says. “It was the only thing they could do to save his life.” His blood pressure plummeted, his kidneys shut down and he was put into an induced coma. “It was scary, the uncertainty,” she says. “We didn’t want to lose hope, but on the other hand, doctors were telling us to prepare for the worst.” And because of new safety protocols at the time, she wasn’t able to visit him in hospital. “My biggest fear was that Frank was going to die alone and we wouldn’t be there to say goodbye.” Frank was briefly sent to a GTA hospital, returning to MSH 10 days later. He was still intubated, but his blood pressure was increasing and his kidney function improving. 18

Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation

Gradually, after being intubated for three-and-a-half weeks, his doctor decreased his sedation and took him off the ventilator. “That was a roller coaster that was going more down than up,” says Alfonsa. “Even before they took out the tubes, they started the medication to wake him up [from his induced coma] and it took two weeks.” Frank spent the majority of his time in the complex continuing care (CCC) unit, cared for by a team of nurses, personal support workers and rehabilitation staff. “Having him in that unit was wonderful,” she says. “He was in a room on the first floor and the staff would bring his bed close to the window. Even though I couldn’t be with him in person at least I could see him.” No two COVID-19 patients seem to be alike, so health care professionals are continually learning on the job. Patients in the CCC unit tend to be so profoundly weak that they require more than ‘typical’ rehabilitation. Complications often arise, such as limited endurance, shortness of

breath, severe muscle weakness, neuropathic pain and critical illness myopathy. “COVID-19 patients — and especially the ones who have been intubated — tend to be impaired on so many levels. They’re dealing with heart issues, oxygen saturation, dizziness and pain,” says Tammy Hibbert, an occupational therapist at MSH. “Some have had strokes as a result.” The role of occupational therapy is to assess and facilitate a patient’s independence in activities of daily living, from getting out of bed and managing personal care to cooking meals, driving a car and returning to school or work. “The biggest difference from a regular rehabilitation program is that COVID-19 patients are dealing with so many subtleties or medical surprises that they’re recovering from all at once,” says Tammy. “There’s a need for close monitoring, since they can take two steps forward and then one step back. So we take it day by day and reward


the small steps.” When Frank was admitted to the CCC unit, he was so weak he could not walk, sit up on his own or even feed himself. He didn’t even have the strength to open a juice box. “Individuals like Mr. Scali have very low endurance and can’t tolerate much therapy,” says Joyce Tan, an MSH physiotherapist who worked directly with Frank. But as the weeks passed, he was finally able to get out of bed on his own. The first time he stood up by himself, without assistance, he thought, “this is a miracle.” He finally left the hospital on July 7, with a long line of caregivers in the hallway clapping him out. “Everyone was there,” Frank recalls. “It was very emotional. It should have been me clapping for them.” Frank is happy to be home — as is his family — but he still has a long road ahead in his recovery process. “I can’t imagine the stress my wife and family experienced,” he says. “We weren’t prepared for this but thankfully our hospital was. With my age and health issues, it would have been so easy for the staff to give up on me but they never did. I’m here today because of them.” Rehabilitation staff like Joyce and Tammy worked with Frank to improve his physical function and mobility so he could safely transition back home. However, because recovery typically takes longer, it will continue at home. “Once a patient is at a level that is safe to go home, we typically put in community supports if we feel there is still room to improve,” says Joyce. MSH provides everything from personal support workers to nurses and therapists as needed to support a patient’s recovery. Months later, Frank continues to work on his recovery and deal with the after-effects of COVID-19. A nurse visits every morning and a physiotherapist twice a week. He’s still weak, his concentration isn’t

The team of nurses, personal support workers and rehabilitation staff who helped Frank recover

The team at MSH didn’t give up on me, so I’m here.

fully recovered and he still requires a walker to get around. “It’s going to be a long process. I really don’t know how long it’s going to take before I’m 90 per cent of where I was before I went to the hospital,” says Frank. “I cannot go up the stairs to take a proper

shower, but the way I look at it is, I’m here, I’m with my family, I’m talking to my friends on the phone. I’m very thankful to MSH for all they did and are still doing.” Since the launch of its COVID-19 Relief Fund, MSH Foundation has raised $2.5 million, with a goal of raising $3 million. Money raised through this relief fund is being used to purchase life-saving equipment, PPE and other emerging and essential needs to help combat COVID-19 in the community — and help patients like Frank. To date, MSH has purchased 20 ventilators and acquired an on-site PCR testing unit (Polymerase Chain Reaction Analyzer), thanks to donor support. As COVID-19 is an ongoing health emergency with no finish line in sight, funds for these types of equipment are critical. “Two weeks before I got hit by the virus, I remember talking to my son and saying, ‘If I get the virus I wouldn’t survive it,’” says Frank. “But somehow here I am. The team at MSH didn’t give up on me, so I’m here. I owe my life to the hospital.” Community members can support COVID-19 relief efforts through the MSH Foundation at Healthy.Together. Fall 2020/Winter 2021


CANCER CARE CARRIES ON, DESPITE COVID-19 Eileen Russell, grateful patient

As the world deals with a global pandemic, MSH’s cancer clinic hasn’t missed a beat | BY VAWN HIMMELSBACH


n 2015, after visiting her doctor about a pain in her side, Eileen Russell was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer that had metastasized to her bones. At the time, the diagnosis was grim: her cancer could not be cured. But it was treatable — so long as she continues to have chemotherapy every three weeks for the rest of her life. As cancer treatments improve, so does the quality of life for patients. “It definitely is an incurable cancer but I’m so happy it’s treatable,” says Eileen, who has responded well to treatment and lives a relatively normal life. 20

Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation

Even a global pandemic has not slowed her down, since she’s been able to continue to receive firstclass care throughout the pandemic at The Shakir Rehmatullah Cancer Clinic at MSH. “The number one thing for me was the fact that they did not cancel any of my treatments [because of the pandemic] — not one,” says Eileen, a former MSH employee who was hired in 1989. She was the hospital’s man­ager of communications when she retired in 2013. Because of COVID-19, Eileen has not been able to visit with former colleagues while she’s in the hospital for chemotherapy. She misses that, but she was delighted to be able to continue regular treatments with oncologist Dr. Henry Solow and her nurses, Debbie, Heather and Sinny. Patients like Eileen who require ongoing care through The Shakir Rehmatullah Cancer Clinic become “like family,” says registered nurse Debbie Mahoney, who has been one of Eileen’s nurses since the initial

cancer diagnosis. “So that part hasn’t changed [because of COVID-19].” What has changed is that Eileen’s husband Jim (or any other visitors) cannot sit with her during treatment, due to safety protocols at the hospital. “Prior to COVID-19, Jim came with her every single time,” says Debbie. “We would have a nice chat. It’s a small clinic and it’s very personal, so you get to know the patients and their families. We exchange Netflix options and talk about travel; it’s a family kind of feel in here.” At The Shakir Rehmatullah Cancer Clinic, MSH’s oncology nurses help patients through each step of their journey. The clinic includes the innovative pain and symptom man­ agement clinic, which is expanding its services thanks to donor support. Through an integration of acute and palliative care, patients receive treatment that goes beyond their cancer diagnosis, encompassing related complications as well. During the pandemic, oncology nurses are doing whatever they can to


ensure vulnerable patients continue to receive the safest, most efficient care possible. For example, there’s now a separate entrance for oncology. “It’s been amazing. You get screened there, you get your hand sanitizer and mask and temperature taken,” says Eileen. “Everything is done right at that entrance so it’s an extremely safe environment.” MSH’s oncology program — which includes the Breast Health Centre, chemotherapy clinic, pain and symptom management clinic, colon health services, clinical trials and radiation consultative services — was created in response to demand from area residents who want cancer treatment close to home, in their own community. “Oncology is an essential service, so plus or minus COVID-19 we forge ahead,” says Cheryl Osborne, patient care director of emergency services and ambulatory care. But dealing with a pandemic brought with it extra challenges for oncology. “It takes longer to provide care when you’re donning PPE and disinfecting surfaces in between patients,” says Cheryl, “and that will remain a challenge until we’re past the pandemic.” There’s also a backlog of patients who did not come in for checkups during the height of the pandemic. “They’d only come to the Emergency Department if they were really sick,” says Debbie. “So the patients we’re getting now are really sick, and they’ve been sick for a while.” But the pandemic is not the only challenge. As the community continues to grow, so too does the need for cancer treatment and support. MSH has been experiencing a 12 per cent annual increase in new oncology consults within recent years, currently treating upwards of 30 chemotherapy patients daily. Most days every consult room and all 14 chemotherapy treatment chairs are full, and the clinics are operating at capacity. This is not expected to slow down

anytime soon, even when the pandemic is over. Indeed, nearly one in every two Canadians is expected to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. In its 2020 research, Cancer Care Ontario predicts an estimated 91,946 new cases of cancer in Ontario this year — that’s 252 new cases every day. The most commonly diagnosed cancers will be breast, followed by lung and prostate cancers. As Ontario’s population grows and ages, the annual number of new cancer cases is predicted

time — it’s not necessarily a death sentence anymore, it’s almost like a chronic illness,” says Debbie. That’s one of the reasons why MSH is quickly outgrowing its current space in the cancer clinic. In the near future, there will be a growing need for consults, acute patient care and longer-term palliative care. “The clinic space for now is adequate to meet our needs, but we’re going to be pretty tight [as it grows],” says Cheryl.

Cheryl Osborne, patient care director

to increase by 25 per cent in the next 10 years (or by 23,000 cases). While more people are being diagnosed with cancer, more people are surviving and requiring follow-up care, sometimes for the rest of their lives — like Eileen. There are dozens of chemotherapy drugs available and many more being developed. Eileen, for example, is being treated with two types of chemotherapy drugs as part of her maintenance plan. This does not ‘treat’ the cancer, but blocks it from spreading. “New drugs are coming out all the

“Another four to five chairs will be needed within the next few years. Right now, we have to be creative with our schedule to ensure we can book the maximum number of patients, and while maintaining our COVID-19 practice and safety principles.” Aside from more chairs, Cheryl expects they will need more infusion pumps and treatment room space, as well as the infrastructure required to support those additional spaces. She would also like to hire another nurse practitioner, as well as a second nurse navigator Healthy.Together. Fall 2020/Winter 2021



FOR MAKING TRIPLE THE IMPACT Although we were unable to hit the links this year, thanks to our generous matching donors, Ballantry Homes and David Milovanovic, your gifts were matched $1 for $1 and raised over $77,000. This helps ensure our frontline team is well prepared, in any scenario, to provide life-saving care and treatment to every patient who turns to us. With every dollar raised, you help enable the continued provision of exceptional patient care even in the face of unprecedented crisis.


2020 SUPPORTERS Bill Bachra

Allan & Kathryn O’Dette

Tamara Brown

Paladin Security Group Ltd.

Francis Chan

Precise ParkLink Inc.

Cisco Systems Canada Co. Schaeffer & Associates Ltd. Friends of MSH Foundation

Frank & Freda Spain

Markham District Energy Inc.

The Raywal Limited Partnership

Mattamy Homes

Dr. Michael Virro

Minto Communities

David Wang

Patrick Molloy

Peter Zukow

Brad & Lara Morris


cancer as a chronic illness — rather than a death sentence — there’s also a need for enhanced long-term support programs close to home. Eileen is one of those patients who will benefit. However, in the meantime, while the world deals with a global pandemic, she has found that patient care at MSH has not missed a beat.

Eileen with oncology nurse Debbie Mahoney

(someone who patients can contact when they need support). “I would love to see an environment that’s more soothing and less institutional,” says Cheryl. “We’re doing that in the Breast Health Centre; there will be wall-to-wall graphics of nature scenes.” In an effort to improve the overall patient experience including efficiency and patient flow, the Breast Health Centre relocation and cancer care expansion are now underway. The current Breast Health Centre space is shared with the chemotherapy clinic, so the relocated site will house larger assessment spaces and therapeutic intervention rooms. The waiting room will also be segregated, providing patients with privacy and supporting best practices recommended by Cancer Care Ontario. Donor funds made the addition of specialized beds possible, as well as provided the furniture to support a more therapeutic and

comforting environment. Creating more dedicated space for surgeons at the Breast Health Centre will also allow for a much-needed expansion of the chemotherapy clinic, the symptom management program and the clinical trials program, as well as provide space for the radiation oncologist. With the acquisition of a tissue microarray processor for the lab — also thanks to generous donor support — MSH is well-positioned to grow its clinical trials program, particularly breast cancer trials. “We’re anticipating by the end of spring we should be able to move into this new space,” says Cheryl. “We’ll be able to standardize practices across providers, so everybody’s experience will be similar in terms of intake and how we deliver services, allowing us to provide a better patient experience.” As cancer treatments improve and more people live longer lives with

The number one thing for me was the fact that they did not cancel any of my treatments [because of the pandemic] — not one.

“As a patient I’m not really affected. I get my juice and cookies, and all the friendliness of the staff — apart from not getting my hugs,” she says. “[My husband] Jim is missing it big time because he’s the one who gets more hugs than I do, and they’re missing him too. It’s such a comfortable feeling, I kind of forget why I’m there.” Healthy.Together. Fall 2020/Winter 2021



MSH STAFF GETS MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT A generous donation for a dedicated specialist to care for staff’s mental well-being will also help MSH provide better care for its patients | BY VAWN HIMMELSBACH


he COVID-19 pandemic has added enormous pressure to the health care system as care providers try to navigate this new normal. And anxiety is high. Some frontline health care workers self-isolated away from their family, even sending their kids to stay with extended family during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more than eight months they have been continually vigilant when dealing with patients who have COVID-19 — or anyone else who may be an asymptomatic carrier. Every workday at the hospital they self-screen; they wear face masks, face shields, gloves and gowns. The daily ritual of PPE can be exhausting. “It’s one of those conditions we’ve never experienced before except in our readings of the Spanish flu,” says Dr. Rustom Sethna, Chief of Psychiatry at MSH. “We’re in a con-


Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation

stant state of vigilance in care environments and there’s a lot of challenges associated with that, from the early challenges of PPE to exhausting work hours.” This is particularly true for those who work in the Emergency Department or the ICU, yet the impacts extend beyond just these health care workers. There’s also distress among facilities and housekeeping staff, as well as administrative staff. “It’s been a challenging process — the constant fear that today might be the day you get it,” says Dr. Sethna. “That fear generates a lot of stress and anxiety and despair in care providers. Every time you see someone who has the disease or potentially could have it, you get retraumatized.” “This vigilance comes at a cost,” says Teresa Wong, MSH’s manager of outpatient mental health. “Staff are experiencing a combination of anxiety, fear, sadness, frustration, helplessness, doubt and exhaustion. Staff are burnt out from wave one as we face wave two.” “Their sleep is affected, or they go home and just crawl into bed and withdraw from people,” says Teresa. Some staff have already been through SARS, which was “extraordinarily scary to live with,” so that leads to a resurgence of intense fear and worry during COVID-19. This highly emotional state is persistent and is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. That’s why

MSH looked for ways to provide support and coping mechanisms to help staff manage what is often referred to as ‘compassion fatigue.’ A $100,000 donation from The Gordon & Ruth Gooder Charitable Foundation has enabled MSH to hire a full-time social worker to support the mental health of staff during the pandemic, which will ultimately lead to better care for patients. The Gooder Foundation was established in 2010, built upon the Gooder’s philosophy of trust and respect for people regardless of


Staff and physician wellness leader Michelle Koehler and Teresa Wong, manager of outpatient mental health

their role in society. As a result of this generous donation, Michelle Koehler joined MSH as a staff and physician wellness leader, a new role that supports the hospital’s commitment to staff and physician mental health and wellness. Most recently, in her private practice, she provided therapy and support for health care professionals dealing with anxiety, burnout, situational depression and trauma. “Prior to COVID-19, there was a 50 per cent burnout rate among physicians and nurses who work on

the front lines of health care,” says Michelle, “simply due to the nature of their work. Certainly once COVID-19 hit, it brought that to light,” she says. “They’re coming into work feeling really taxed and overworked, exhibiting signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.” At MSH, Michelle works alongside the Mental Health and Occupational Health departments, using her expertise as a clinical social worker, mental health clinician and mindfulness practitioner to help staff and physicians navigate their

own mental health and wellness. “My role is to facilitate some mindfulness and self-care strategies for the staff, and to just be here for them,” she says. It’s a multipronged approach that involves building supportive relationships with staff and being readily accessible — no appointment required, while also empowering staff to take back control of their lives. It’s not meant to be a formal system, with appointments and wait times; rather, Michelle is “hyper mobile,” meeting with staff in their Healthy.Together. Fall 2020/Winter 2021


Guest Satisfaction in Sales and Guest Satisfaction in Sales and Guest Satisfaction in Sales and Service is Our #1 Priority Service is #1 Service is Our Our #1 Priority Priority We offer these services (and more) We services (and We offer offer these these services (and more) more) for our guests for our guests for our guests

with individually packed with individually packed with individually packed treats, tea, coffee and treats, tea, coffee treats,FREE tea, WI-FI coffee and and FREE WI-FI FREE WI-FI


WE KNOW KNOW TIRES TIRES WE WE KNOW TIRES Every tire customer is unique. All have

Every tire customer is unique. Allhabits have unique vehicles, unique driving Every tire customer is unique. All have and unique One vehicles, unique driving habits and needs. of our trained professionals unique vehicles, unique driving habits and needs. One of our trained professionals can help you choose the right tire for your needs. One of our trained professionals can helpfrom you our choose the right tire for your vehicle full range of Canada’s top can help you choose the right tire for your vehicle from our full range of Canada’s top brands. vehicle from our full range of Canada’s top brands. brands.

See our service department for details. See our service department for details. See our service department for details.



SAVE $$$ SAVE SAVE $$$ $$$

COLLISION CENTRE COLLISION CENTRE COLLISION CENTRE FREE estimates on any bodyFREE estimates on any bodywork, whether your vehicle has FREE estimates on any bodywork, whether your vehicle has been in a collision or you would work, whether your vehicle has beenlike in a collision you would just cleanupor any dents been in atocollision or you would just like to cleanup any dents and scratches. just like to cleanup any dents and scratches. and scratches.

Visit the Specials Page on our website to Visit the Page on Visit view the Specials Specials Page promotions! on our our website website to to our monthly view our monthly promotions! view our monthly promotions!


We service We service import and We service import and domestic vehicles import and domestic vehicles domestic vehicles OPEN OPEN EARLY. OPEN EARLY. CLOSED EARLY. CLOSED LATE. CLOSED LATE. LATE.

Accredited Accredited Test & Repair Accredited Test & Repair Facility TestFacility & Repair Facility

1288 Millard Street, Stouffville, Ontario 1288 Millard Street, Stouffville, Ontario Sales: 905-642-6688 1288 Millard Street, Stouffville, Ontario Sales: 905-642-6688 Service: 905-642-9558 Sales: 905-642-6688 Service: 905-642-9558 Parts: 416-921-1288 Service: 905-642-9558 Parts: 416-921-1288 Parts: 416-921-1288


own workspaces, having a hallway conversation or going outside for a walk — in person, by phone or virtually. She also provides unit debriefs after critical events or codes and one on one counselling for staff in crisis. “I carry a phone with me, and I’m also reachable on weekends and after hours,” she says. “Improving staff wellness leads to better morale and fewer sick days,” says Teresa. It also improves staff retention. “Our hope is this role makes a real difference for staff to the extent that it becomes a permanent role,” she says. “[Michelle] takes a very collaborative approach with staff and clinical practice leaders, going to staff huddles and meeting people on the front lines.” Michelle says, “it is important to meet staff where they are at.” “Between the fear factor of COVID-19 and now with pandemic fatigue, we worry about contamination — bringing it home with us and the welfare of our patients as well as our ability to navigate this period,” Michelle says. “We can’t control the future, we can’t change the past, but what we can do is take in this moment, and learn to build emotional resilience through mindfulness.” Dr. Sethna hopes this will transform

Michelle counsels staff

That fear generates a lot of stress and anxiety and despair in caregivers. Every time you see someone who has the disease or potentially could have it, you get retraumatized

Dr. Rustom Sethna, chief of psychiatry

post-traumatic stress disorder into what he calls post-traumatic growth. “You can grow from this trauma,” he says. “You can bounce back.” It’s also about making the hospital more resilient, for whatever uncertainty lies ahead. “We decided we needed to be way ahead of the curve here and not wait until people are too burned out and not able to work,” he says. “Then we won’t have care providers, and the burden for the people left behind increases.” What’s unique about this program is the mindfulness stress reduction piece, which is what attracted Mi-

chelle to the job. This gives health care workers and staff “something in their toolbox to pull out and contain that moment of anxiety,” she says. The mental health and wellness of the MSH family is vital. When staff are healthy, they can provide essential, life-saving care for our community — during and after the anxiety of this pandemic. This generous contribution significantly impacts MSH’s ability to take care of its own. Thanks to The Gordon & Ruth Gooder Charitable Foundation, all MSH Heroes can now receive the timely support they need. Healthy.Together. Fall 2020/Winter 2021


The Village Grocer is a one-of-a-kind approach to food and the surrounding experience!

What began many years ago as a mom and pop butcher shop has evolved in the breadth of our offerings, the venue in which we entertain our customers and the “family” of folk who look after you here. Our approach to food has been noted with acclaim within our industry as being truly unique. In a nutshell, one could say that we are home to artisans, as we take the time to make many, many of the items that we offer, and it’s a common theme among our expats that their new surroundings are great, yet the one thing that they miss is...The Village Grocer! What makes this so is our unyielding adherence to the principle of quality ingredients, freshly done, and made with time-honoured methods that bring the best out in what we do. Add to this mix a sense of adventure with the world of food, and a sense of taste and style, with the complimentary aspect of bringing food to the table. Not only do we bake from scratch, just like at home, but we make so many signature down-home products, from bacon to ham, that harken back to bygone days of real quality. Now add to all this a real and continuing commitment to “community” and all that it “ ...making life a little bit easier with fresh food entails, and a real eagerness done the old fashioned way, that’s what we do” to make all of your meals as - Evan MacDonald Owner of The Village Grocer enjoyable as they can be. So whether you are planning a party for many, an evening with a few, or a meal for one, you will find yourself in good helpful hands in our little store that grew. 4476 16th Avenue, Unionville Ontario (905) 940-0655




These fundraising events, organized and supported by our friends in the community, demonstrate a strong belief in our hospital’s programs and services. Visit for full details.

Until Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020

Unionville BIA Shirt Sale

Purchase a shirt to show your Unionville pride and the BIA will donate $5 from every item sold to benefit our community’s health. Shop now at

Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020 Giving Tuesday

Give a gift to support our MSH Heroes and have your donation matched dollar for dollar! Visit

Spring 2021

Ongoing Promotion

Hope with Art & ManorHill Fine Art

Amazing artwork is up for bids around Markham to benefit our hospital! Visit the following businesses to bid — RBC East Beaver Creek Rd., Boxgrove Health Centre, 377 & 379 Church Street health buildings and Food Basics on Castlemore. To get involved and host an art easel at your business, contact Catherine at or 905-472-7373 ext. 6606.

MSH Foundation Gala Visit

Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 Stronger Together for MSH Save the date for this virtual event! Visit

Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021

CIBC Celebration of Hope

Save the date for the 30th anniversary event! Visit

HOST A FUNDRAISING EVENT! No event is too big or too small. EVERY DOLLAR COUNTS! Find out more at or contact Joyce at or 905-472-7373 ext. 6229. Healthy.Together. Fall 2020/Winter 2021




Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation













COMMUNITY EVENT HIGHLIGHTS It takes our entire community to support MSH. During this unprecedented time, we are especially grateful for the fundraising efforts of our many generous supporters. Every dollar raised enables life-changing and life-saving care for a family member, friend or neighbour. Thank you!

3 1.

Tim Hortons Smile Cookie Markham & Stouffville Tim Hortons stores raise $50,070 to support The Stollery Family Centre for Childbirth & Children.

2. Amici Spa Gala*

3. Islamic Society of Markham and Islamic Centre of Markham Car Rally Suzette Strong, CEO, MSH Foundation thanks the Muslim community for showing their appreciation to MSH frontline staff.

4. 9Round Markham Annual Kick Event*


Joe Cheung, Trainer/Owner, 9Round Markham receives a plaque from Suzette in recognition for raising $2,050 to benefit The Shakir Rehmatullah Cancer Clinic.

5. Fundraising for the Front Lines Together with a match from the TELUS Friendly Future Foundation, Reema Imtiaz and her colleagues raised over $23,800 to support the MSH COVID-19 Relief Fund.

FDM Contracting arranged a Canada Day appreciation parade through York Region and drove around the Markham site to show their support.

7 . ‘Keep our Heroes Safe’ Fundraiser

Kelly Vieira, General Manager and Kelly Don, Marketing Assistant, CF Markville present a cheque for $10,000 on behalf of Cadillac Fairview in support of the MSH COVID-19 Relief Fund.

11. Rogers Tech Crew and Markham Soccer Club Car Rally The community gathered in support of our health care workers for all they do to help keep our community safe.

12. S.Y.T. Face Mask Fundraiser Jennifer Morrison & Jennifer Kah from S.Y.T. raised $5,000.

In loving memory of Tom Brazier, the Brazier family and the Tiny Tom Donuts team raised over $3,000.

14. Live Painting and Auction with Danielle Since the beginning of the pandemic, YRDSB teacher Danielle Zafirovski has raised over $1,000 and counting through weekly online painting tutorials and auctioning the finished pieces.

15. Sarku Japan’s Annual Holiday Dinner*

Phylindra Fernando rallied support from friends and family to raise over $5,000 and counting to help fund the purchase of PPE in honour of our frontline heroes.

8. The Last Stitch Community Screening*


Zidan proudly announces the success of his fundraiser to support the MSH COVID-19 Relief Fund.

13. Tiny Tom Donuts Fundraiser

6. Canada Day FDM Contracting Car Rally


Zidan’s Friendship Bracelet Fundraiser

10. CF Markville Drive-In Movie Night

The DiMartino family raised over $9,500 at its annual gala to support The Shakir Rehmatullah Cancer Clinic.



Allan Bell, MSH Foundation, Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti and City of Markham councillors congratulate director Alfred Sung and executive producer Ruby Yang for raising $5,000.

Winston Cheuk, Chief Planning Officer with Alexandre Rosario, Manager of Operations, Sarku Japan present a cheque for $5,000 to Allan. *Photos taken pre-pandemic


Healthy.Together. Fall 2020/Winter 2021


Rut ha

d ar rn Be nd


on g



Ruth and Bernard Tong chose to support MSH with a gift in their wills, the same way the hospital and its staff have always supported them. The Tongs have lived in Stouffville since it was just corn and potato fields, and remember when the hospital was first being built. Today, they know the hospital very well having both received cancer care at MSH. “I’ve never forgotten that it was the team right here in our local hospital who saved my wife’s life,” says Bernard. “That’s why Ruth and I were inspired to make a gift to MSH in our wills. Ever since then, we’ve felt comfort knowing that we will be helping our community long after we ourselves are gone.” Leaving a gift in your will to MSH is a powerful act of generosity. “We know that some people feel like leaving a bequest to charity is only for people with large estates. Not true,” says Ruth. “If we all leave a bit to the hospital, together we can make sure that this hospital and this community Become an MSH legacy donor. thrive long into the future.”

Plan today to make a difference tomorrow. • 905-472-7373 ext. 6619

Your #1 real estate team

905.475.2100 Not intended to solicit clients currently under contract with another broker.

“We’re in the business of not just building homes, but communities.” - Flato President, Shakir Rehmatullah













Profile for Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation

Healthy.Together.Markham.Stouffville. Fall 2020/Winter 2021 Edition  


Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded