Community Papers

Giving is the greatest gift of all

The holiday season is a time to gather with family and friends to celebrate our cherished traditions, and to share the spirit of giving.

For long-time Richmond resident Carol Brown (names in this story have been changed to protect the donor’s privacy), Richmond Hospital holds a special place in her heart, especially during this time of year as she’s had to spend part of her holidays with our caring staff on more than one occasion.

Her touching story is a reminder, to all of us, that giving is often the greatest gift of all:

“Many families have cherished traditions during the holiday season.

“Years ago, every December I would make little baskets of shortbread, cake and jam. My children would wrap them in festive paper and help deliver them to people who didn’t have anybody during the holidays—some of whom were patients at Richmond Hospital.

“When I moved to Richmond in 1946, I didn’t know I would become so involved with Richmond Hospital after it first opened in 1966—or how often it would be there for my family.

“I’ve sat with other parents as our children needed Richmond Hospital to mend their injuries. Later, I celebrated with others in the waiting room as I welcomed the births of five of our grandchildren.

“One year, my husband and I even spent Christmas Eve together in the Emergency Department. Thankfully, we made it home for Christmas dinner, but we knew that many others would be spending their holidays at the hospital.

“I’ve also seen the sadness of others through my own tears. Richmond Hospital’s kind-hearted staff were there for me when my first husband of 28 years, Peter, passed away in 1975. When my second husband Jack became ill a couple of years ago, I knew he was in good hands.

“When Jack was admitted to the Palliative Care Unit on December 15, 2010, he knew he wouldn’t be with us for much longer. Even so, he was determined to attend our family’s pre-Christmas dinner party at Country Meadows Golf Club. The doctors and staff knew how important this was for Jack—and for us—so they did everything they could to help him gather all his strength to join our family just a few days before Christmas. Jack was able to spend a crisp, starlit night sipping his customary rum and eggnog, surrounded by his children, grandchildren, and his little great-granddaughter. It was a beautiful night. Three days later, he quietly passed away.

“That Christmas, we celebrated Jack’s life and I’m so grateful that the staff at Richmond Hospital took the time to give us such a precious memory to cherish for years to come.

“This year I wanted to give something special in return. I don’t bake or make jam anymore. Instead, I made two donations to Richmond Hospital, in loving memory of my late husbands, Peter and Jack.

“I’ve shared my story with you today, so you can see how often Richmond Hospital has been there for my family. No matter how our families change, there is one constant—Richmond Hospital is always there for us, just like they’ll be here for you.”

Watch for Carol’s story in your mailbox this holiday. If you did not receive your copy and would like to learn more, or if you’d like to donate to Richmond Hospital Foundation, please call 604-244-5252, or visit our website at

Natalie D. Meixner is president and CEO of Richmond Hospital Foundation. Her column will appear monthly in The Richmond Review. See for info.

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