A Donor’s Story: Ernie Smyth

When Ernie Smyth remembers his wife Peggy, his face lights up at the thought of her smile and her big heart. “She was a wonderful person. Not at all selfish,” he says. “She supported me in everything. Peggy was just happy.”

Married for an extraordinary 62 years, Victoria Hospital Foundation donors, Ernie and Peggy, met when they were just 19 and later immigrated to Canada from Ireland. They raised two sons and spent the last 30 years together on Vancouver Island, often visiting Peggy’s sister Joan who also lives in Victoria. What is the key to a long and happy marriage such as theirs? “Respect for each other,” Ernie says, “and to enjoy each other’s company.”

Sadly, Peggy passed away at Royal Jubilee Hospital in 2017. Remembering the understanding and compassionate care of the hospital staff, Ernie knew he wanted to make a gift in her memory. Earlier this year, he made a generous donation in support of Royal Jubilee Hospital. Today, a painting and a plaque hangs in a sunroom of the hospital’s Patient Care Centre as recognition and in her honour.

More recently, Ernie decided to give another significant gift in support of the “brilliant work” our hospitals’ care teams provide. Understanding that the care provided in our hospitals is integral to our community, Ernie made a $500,000 donation to the You Are Vital campaign.

“We should all give back,” shares Ernie. “I have a wonderful life, and it makes me feel good to give, and it makes my family feel good. That’s what my wife would have wanted to do. When you talk about life, it’s nice to give it back.”

Thank you Ernie for your generosity in support of our hospitals. Donors like you, no matter the amount given, are vital in ensuring leading-edge care for patients across Vancouver Island. We are stronger together and giving makes us all better.