One of their two sons was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes at 11 years old and had to stay at the hospital for two weeks. Many years later, the care that the family and their son received while at the hospital has been forever held as a fond memory for Sheila and Dave.
“They were remarkable,” said Sheila describing the OTMH staff. “Getting us used to the insulin and how to give it to him and things like that. The dietician who helped us work on recipes that our son liked, and we were taught how much to make. We had a really good experience that way.”
“There was one nurse on the pediatric floor when he was in there,” continued Sheila, holding back tears. “And she said to us, ‘you can’t just give him insulin.’ This was the first time, when we went home, and we’re going to give him insulin. She said, ‘I’m going to have you give it to me.’ This one single nurse had my husband, myself and our older son, all inject her with what was water. And I think that just sort of tells you the story of some of the care that is given. It’s such a remarkable person to do that for us, to help us be able to help our son.”
The Gores moved from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Ontario in 1970 and made their way around Southern Ontario. They lived in Toronto and Oakville before moving to their current home in Burlington. They remained with the Oakville Hospital, however, continuing their medical care at the hospital despite moving 30 minutes away.
That connection to the OTMH runs deep for Sheila and Dave. Their sons were both born there. The couple also watched as the concept of the new hospital was developed over the years and went on tours of the building as it was being constructed. They even donated money to outfit one of the rooms in the new structure.
“We had the opportunity when the hospital was actually being built to really give some serious thought as to giving back because of our sons being born and they have helped us with other kind of conditions that we’ve dealt with,” said Dave, explaining why he and his wife continue to donate to the Oakville Hospital Foundation. “We decided that it was a great opportunity to participate in the building of the new hospital and we had a front row seat to actually see it built from the foundation.”
Along with the incredible care that one of their children received at the hospital, Sheila and Dave themselves have experienced that care first-hand. Sheila had previously suffered a ruptured appendix and is grateful for the surgeon that saved her life.
Sheila recalls her surgeon telling her that one of the nurses questioned why he would be doing the surgery at one o’clock in the morning, but he persisted as it was essential to do right away. “I’m here today because of what he did,” she said.
That is just one of the many examples of care from the hospital that the couple remembers and has kept with them for many years.
Not only do Sheila and Dave have an emotional connection with the hospital, they have also been monthly donors for almost 20 years.
“When you have choices to do something, you look and say, ‘well, should I give here, here or here?’” said Dave. “And then it’s pretty obvious when you have that emotional attachment to something and you’ve had personal experiences. This has been such a wonderful place in terms of the health it has given us that it’s just natural to be able to donate to them.”
“Unless you’re actually in a hospital, I’m not sure how many people really understand what a community actually has to do to get a hospital up and running,” said Dave. “I think a lot of people who don’t use them probably must think that the government funds them and just builds it all and people just go and use it. It’s not quite true when you actually get down to the nitty gritty.”
“We appreciate what the hospital has done for us,” added Sheila. “And it’s just a small way of giving back by donating what you can. And this is because we put it in our will, a donation to the hospital as well, I think that’s something that a lot of people could do, even if (the donation is) not there for hopefully a few years to come.”