My brother, Gord, suffered a devastating and debilitating stroke in April, 2011. His struggle was a long one. Initially he was in ICU for seven weeks. He was unable to even move or breathe on his own at first. He was a fighter though, and over the next three and half months, Gord worked tirelessly to gain a level of mobility and independence. It was clear though, that he would be unable to care for himself on his own, and certainly would not be able to return to his previous living arrangements. Since he was already on a disability pension and a client of the CCAC, our options were extremely limited and his future accommodation options were bleak and deplorable.
Then the social worker at the hospital connected us with Joanne Dick and Betty Haberer from March of Dimes Canada. Joanne was truly an angel that swooped down from heaven! From my first conversation with her, I was filled with hope that Gord may actually be given the gift of living with a sense of dignity in his own apartment, knowing that he would be supported with 24/7 assisted living, and the love, care and strength of March of Dimes Canada with all the training, friendship, programs and support they offered.
From the first interview we had with Joanne and Betty, Gord was filled with the same hope and positive energy I was, seeing that a bright future, even in the face of his physical deficits, was actually possible.
I also cannot tell you what it felt like to receive Joanne’s phone call informing me that Gord had been granted an apartment. There are no words to describe that level of elation. Only that it was surpassed by my brother’s joy! To watch him tour his new apartment for the first time, meet the staff and other MODC clients in the building and sign his lease was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had.
Sadly, Gord died from choking a week before he would have moved in, but that has never changed, nor will it ever change the profound impact March of Dimes Canada has had on me and my family. We will always be staunch supporters of MODC because we have seen firsthand how a person that feels fearful, lost and hopeless due to a physical deficit, can actually be given hope, and that dignity and independence can be realized, all thanks to this life changing organization.