Can you tell us about your family, and how they made health and giving important to you?
Charlotte: My father survived the Holocaust and came to Canada as an immigrant right after the war. He was very young and had no education. When he started his business, he made sure he always gave money to charities. That was very important to him, he had various causes that he supported throughout his life.
My father instilled in us the importance of three things—to give back to society, to pursue an education that was important to you, and the importance of your health. He was probably the fittest person I have ever known, so health and fitness was instilled in us from an early age.
He was very aware of the value of the healthcare system in Canada—he was so grateful for that. He had no healthcare growing up and had medical issues as a result that were never treated, so he was very much a supporter of healthcare. He passed that on to us and we can see it in our family, too. Jenna wants to become a doctor.
Just like my father, our family’s lives have been made better by the amazing care we have here. When she was 11, my daughter Bree had to have bilateral Achilles tendon surgery. She had a shortened Achilles on both legs.
As a parent, I was so grateful to be involved in Bree’s care so fully. I was even able to stay with her in the operating room until she fell asleep. Even though I wasn’t the one having the surgery, I still felt that we were both in in such good hands. Before the surgery, she couldn’t put her feet in skates or ski boots because she couldn’t flatten her feet. Now, four years on from her surgery, she’s back to doing the things she loves. The things we never thought she’d be able to do again—waterskiing, wakeboarding, and skiing.
What inspired you to lead by example with an incredible matching gift in lieu of Visions?
Charlotte: I’ve always been inspired to help with fundraising in our community. The Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s work is so critical to our community—especially right now—we have to make sure we support it. So it was natural get together with Avery (VHF’s Executive Director) to come up with this matching campaign. It’s something that I hope will keep the hospitals in the forefront of people’s minds and inspire them to give. To highlight the real reason why we have Visions every year. Then, next year, the Visions gala can come back stronger than ever.
We have such a strong healthcare system, but we need to continue to support it. When we give, we’re choosing directly where our money is going. We’re choosing to support our health. We have great doctors here. We have great facilities here, and we need to continue that support to make sure that they are in top-notch form.
Jenna, how do you feel when you see it in the newspaper and hear in the community that you and your family are giving to the hospitals?
Jenna: It feels really nice to know that my family is giving back and raising awareness of the needs in our hospitals, and that people are benefitting from that. We were taught by my parents at a young age that it’s really important to give to others. By giving to the hospital, you’re not only supporting those who are getting direct care from it, you’re also supporting the families who are struggling. During this pandemic, the more support that the hospital have, the better.
I hope people will be inspired to give because of our match.
Can you tell us about your support of VHF’s fundraising gala, Visions and your incredible matching donation?
Charlotte: I’ve been supporting Visions for years, I love bringing my friends to the event. People want to get out, have a fun evening, and support a great cause. Visions gave them that opportunity. There is really a void this year without the event. So it’s good to be able to say to those friends, “even though the event isn’t happening, there’s still a need to give. Let’s continue to give together.”
The matching donation is a way to try to keep the Victoria Hospitals Foundation top of mind, even though we’re not having a big celebration. The event isn’t what it’s really about. It’s a way to celebrate our hospitals, and also to support them. Without Visions, you have to have a reminder to people that this need is still there in our community. We still need to give. That need is even more pronounced now.
How is your network responding to your matching donation challenge?
Charlotte: Practicing law in the area of wills and estates in Victoria for 25 years, I’ve gotten to know a lot of people in our community. It’s nice to think that in my relationships, and in my work, that I’ve helped raised the awareness of the needs of the Foundation. I think people realize it’s good to give to VHF because they know where their money is going. It’s going to our hospitals; we’re all benefitting from it.
We have to strengthen our hospitals, especially in a pandemic. Even without that, it would be a need. And with the pandemic, it shows that our focus should be healthcare and the health of our community. We can all take care of ourselves, but we also need to take care of our community too. That’s what’s resonating with the people I’m connected with.
What would you say to others who are thinking of donating?
Charlotte: There are so many worthy causes in Victoria. The reason we choose to support the Victoria Hospitals Foundation is because our collective health has been at forefront of people’s minds since March.
Let’s focus our support on keeping our resources in the community and our healthcare system strong. So we don’t have to worry about not having the healthcare that we could need desperately next week. We need to be ready for anything that comes up—that’s especially highlighted this year. People already had healthcare in their minds. I hope we can inspire them to think about how they personally can support our community through the healthcare system.
What would you like to say to our frontline care teams who continue to keep our community healthy and safe?
Charlotte: I want them to know that the community is behind them. They have our love and support. And that we take so much pride in our hospitals—their work. We all depend on them. Vancouver Island has been quite fortunate in this pandemic. But we need to know that if something happens—that if our luck runs out—that our hospitals are prepared to take care of us.
And we don’t want people to lose sight of the other conditions that still need to be treated in our hospitals. There are people still undergoing treatment for heart disease, cancer, and many other conditions. So we need to keep our hospitals strong. It’s great to see surgeries are now being done again. We know the importance of funding the equipment and resources that our caregivers need every day.