Sickkids Foundation Circle of Care Dinner 2008

Sickkids Foundation Hero's Dinner was a moving celebration of Sickkids top donors and the patients, families and hospital teams that constitute the circle of care. In line with a hospital focus on interprofessional practice, videos focused on the linkages between families, staff and donors and emphasized a wide circle of excellence at a top paediatric hospital.

The evening was opened by Sickkids and Sickkids Foundation Board member Patsy Anderson who introduced a video on family centred interprofessional care in the NICU that featured several staff working on the new NICU Family Care Group. Each of the short videos during the evening linked the children, hospital staff and family donors. Children featured included Connor and Nathan Whalen, Iona Gillespie and Dan Aziz.

Foundation President Michael 0'Mahoney held an imprompto interview with Gary Sleight, the donor behind the radiothons that have raised over 25 million dollars, and thanked the Sleight family for a recent donation to continuing education.

Janice O'Born then asked everyone to take the medical bracelet off the wine glass and slip it over their thumb and imagine the impossibly small ankle of a premature child in NICU. The O'Born family orginated the O'Born challenge that matches donations over $10,000. Michael joked that it was one time he hoped for an expensive evening for Earle O'Born.

Bob Aziz celebrated the surgical repair to their son Dan of a hangman's break in his spine, an almost miraculous recovery and there was an accompanying movie of Dan rowing several years after the accident.

To symbolize the circle of care, Michael O'Mahoney then called up many of the families and staff and donors featured during the night: neuro surgeon Dr Peter Dirks, the Gillespie family, the Whalen family, Dr Chris Tomlinson, NICU occupational therapist Sandy Steinwender, Patsy Anderson, NICU nurse practitioner Hazel Pleasants, head of general surgery Dr Jacob Langer, Chair of Sickkids Board of Trustees Constance Sugiyama, Janice and Earle O'Born and NICU social worker Dianne Fierheller.

To our amazement we were seated beside Cindy and Jeff whose daughter had been with ours on CCCU and 4D from late 2005 and early 2006 and with whom we reconnected for the first time in two years. We also chatted with NICU neonatologist Dr Patrick McNamara who has cared for Lisa and Norm's daughter Julia.

After the dinner, I connected with Sickkids parents Mitch Blum, Owen Duckman and Janis Purdy. This was the perfect evening to connect with Foundation staff like Malcolm Berry, Lisa Charendoff (who organized Dan's performance in NICU), Daniel Unruh and Eliza O'Neil. I also had the longest conversation with Sasha's cath specialist Dr Lee Benson since he updated us after Sasha's last cath. At the end of the night we spied designer Brian Gluckstein who donated his time to redesign the Rehab Centre for the children needing occupation, physical or burns therapists. Though we were among the last standing, he seemed so pleased to go on a little mental walk about with us, chatting about our favorite rooms in the newly decorated space and what a difference small things like paint, lights, wood flooring and all the new cabinet doors has made in the 50 year old space.

It was a moving and dramatically choreographed event that had my eyes tear a number of times with joy for the families and staff. The departmental focus this year was on the NICU and general surgery. One addition I would love to see in future years is the celebration of a palliative or deceased hero and their family and their medical teams to expand the circle of care to those special kids who remain with us in spirit.

A big thanks to Norm Leung and Lisa Bonney for inviting Pamela and I to join them at the dinner. Here we are with Brian Gluckstein.


  1. Anonymous9:14 PM

    Lovely review of the evening Jonathan.
    Brian Gluckstein did seemed genuinely happy to chat with us, which was so nice. I've been hoping you would post our photo! Thanks.

  2. Anonymous9:16 PM

    hey why the comment moderation? Did something happen? Norm will have me tell you that Dan was rowing - norm's varsity sport- not waterskiing.

  3. Thanks Norm, Dan was rowing in the movie. It was his accident that was caused by hitting his wakeboard according to his dad so no waterskiing at all.

  4. Glad you liked the picture Lisa, good way to end a good evening.