Jenny’s Story

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“I don’t think most people realize what a gem we have in St. Mary’s.”

Those words of admiration are the first thing Jenny Lehman mentions when reflecting on the nearly 9 months that her father Jim spent in our care before ultimately passing away in September 2011.

After enduring a grueling journey in and out of our healthcare system that included heart surgery, a septic hip, a staph infection, multiple blood transfusions and finally contracting a rare form of meningitis, you could forgive the Lehman’s if they never wanted to see the inside of a hospital again. For them though, St. Mary’s became more than just a medical building. It came to be a place of healing and hope, despite their ultimate loss.

In retirement, Jim spent nearly ten years as a volunteer member of the St. Mary’s pastoral care team. In that role, he came to understand implicitly how our approach to caring for the whole person—mind, body and spirit—can have a transformational effect on our patients and their families.

“Dad loved St. Mary’s and he made a point of building relationships with his caregivers and his fellow patients,” Jenny recalled. “He would always be making friends, and despite his own declining health, he always wanted to be a good patient for the nurses. And in return, they loved him back.”

Jenny and the rest of her family are deeply grateful for everything St. Mary’s provides. The investments made in our hospital have resulted in the development of top-flight clinical programs which, in turn, have attracted some of the best doctors and nurses from across Canada.

“They gave us so much,” Jenny says. “We just feel it’s right to give back and that’s why we support St. Mary’s. This is our way of honouring Dad because so many people helped build this hospital for him. We feel it is our responsibility to do the same for other families.”

That sense of family is a profound reflection for the Lehmans. They recognize that a fundamental part of what makes St. Mary’s special is the way that staff, physicians and volunteers make our patients and their loved ones feel like they are part of a family. “On his last admission to St. Mary’s, just a few days before he died, I remember feeling a sense of relief,” Jenny recalls. “I felt like we were at home.”

Today I ask you to join the Lehman’s by making a donation to St. Mary’s. Help us continue to provide our friends, neighbours and loved ones in Waterloo Region with the quality and accessible healthcare they need and deserve. Your gift is more than an investment in a healthcare system, it’s an investment in the St. Mary’s family.

Peter Sweeney
President, St. Mary’s General Hospital Foundation


How we keep healthcare close to home:

  • With your donation, we purchased an Endobronchial Ultrasound System (EBUS) which has reduced wait times for cancer staging from 4-6 weeks to 1-4 days and has eliminated the need for patients to travel outside of the Region for diagnostic care.
  • Through a generous gift we introduced a Geriatric Medically Complex Clinic, which provides frail and elderly patients with timely access to community supports and services to help manage their healthcare needs in their own homes.
  • We recently established a remote monitoring pilot project for pacemaker patients which allows many patients to receive care in a setting closer to home and reduces the time required for device follow up.

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