A reception was held on October 19, 2015 to celebrate the generous donation as well as the thoughtful legacy gift made by Ms. Arlene Fels on behalf of her family towards the Goldman Herzl Family Practice Centre of the Jewish General Hospital.
Arlene Fels was born in Montreal in 1949. Diagnosed from birth with cerebral palsy, she has managed to lead a meaningful and fulfilling life despite her disability.
After a short stay at the Montreal School for the Deaf, she went to a specialized institute in Wichita, Kansas in 1957, where she benefited from a comprehensive care program until she returned home in Montreal in 1968. She then went on to work in two nursery schools as a teacher's aid for ten years. After that, she was a clerical worker at Ometz – an organization which helps individuals living with disabilities find jobs – for 19 years until her retirement in 1999.
Living in the borough of Côte-St. Luc, Arlene has relied on the JGH for her health and well-being in the past 20 years. "I know my way around the JGH; it's comfortable and safe for me," she says. "I have always had great confidence in the Hospital and its doctors to provide me with the right care." She is particularly fond of the Goldman Herzl Family Practice Centre, where she visits every six months with her family doctor, Dr. John C. Kirk.
Since retiring, Arlene has devoted herself to helping others by giving back to organizations that she values and which made a difference in her life such as Ometz, the Miriam Foundation, the Cummings Jewish Centre for Seniors, the Mackay Rehabilitation Centre, Temple Emmanuel, Concordia University and the JGH.
At the JGH, Arlene decided to direct her gift towards the Goldman Herzl Family Practice Centre's Continual Improvement Fund, which is used to improve the quality of care through new healthcare programs, staff training and organizational enhancements. This Fund relies exclusively on donor support, making Arlene's gift even more meaningful and impactful. "I love children, but could not have any," she explains. "I wanted to help the Herzl welcome more patients so that more families with babies can have access to good care." This is so important to her that she took care to leave a generous bequest to the JGH Foundation in her will in support of the Centre.
"The Arlene Fels Family Examination Room at the Goldman Herzl Family Practice Centre is a wonderful and lasting testament to her generosity and positive impact on our entire community," said Danyael Cantor, Development Consultant at the JGH Foundation. "We are deeply grateful to Arlene and the Fels family for their important contribution towards advancing the cause of family medicine at the JGH and across Quebec.".