Vanda di Cesare Treiser

A gift to restore dignity

Vanda di Cesare Treiser first came into contact with the JGH in 2005 when her beloved husband, Benjamin (Bela), was admitted initially for a serious cardiovascular condition and then for a brain tumour, from which he would succumb a few months later. To this day, she remains very grateful to the JGH for the exemplary treatment that she and her husband received. “This hospital went beyond the call of duty in its care of Bela and me," she said. “We didn't expect such care. It was as if the doctors and nurses were suffering along with us. They attended to every physical and spiritual need we had. I owe thanks to many, many people." Among those she singled out for praise were Dr. David Langleben, Chief of Cardiology at the time, Dr. Gerald Batist, Chief of Oncology and Director of the Segal Cancer Centre at the JGH, and Dr. Morris Schweitzer, an endocrinologist who is also the Director of the JGH Cardiovascular Prevention Centre.

Mrs. Treiser explained that through the pain of his illness, her husband fought valiantly to retain his independence and dignity. “The compassionate way the doctors, nurses and staff at the JGH cared for him as a person, first and foremost, and managed to make us feel as if we were part of a big family made a world of difference." This inspired her to create, in 2008, the Benjamin (Bela) Treiser Endowment for Cardiology and Oncology. “Through this endowment, I hope to be able to help restore the loss of independence and dignity that so many sick people suffer from," she said at the reception held to honour her gift. “It is a tribute to Bela and what he believed in." To date, funds generated by the endowment have allowed for the acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment for the Heart Function Clinic, the Non-Invasive Laboratory and Echocardiography, enabling the Division of Cardiology to enhance its status as a Centre of Excellence, and to continue to provide the best and most advanced care for the growing number of patients who suffer from cardiac conditions. In addition, an equal portion of the funds supported leading-edge research at the Segal Cancer Centre, and served to enhance existing programs that focus on decreasing pain and increasing comfort for those who suffer from various forms of cancer.

This year, Mrs. Treiser took one more step towards empowering the JGH and its staff to continue providing a superior level of care to as many people as possible, by making another major gift in memory of her beloved husband, as part of the You Have the Power to Heal capital campaign. Her generous contribution provides much-needed support for many medical areas and initiatives, including the establishment of the first Insulin Pump & Diabetes Education Centre in Quebec, which provides the growing number of patients suffering from diabetes with the comprehensive care and support they need to achieve and maintain optimum control of their disease; the Dr. Morris Schweitzer Research Fund in Endocrinology; the Goldman Herzl Family Practice Centre's Continual Improvement Fund, which helps to improve the quality of care through new healthcare programs, staff training and organizational enhancements; the Division of Cardiology; the Segal Cancer Centre; and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

“Bela Treiser not only lives on in the memory of his loved ones," emphasized JGH Foundation President and CEO Myer Bick. “His name will forever be associated with the work of all the doctors and nurses who are being empowered by Vanda's generous gifts to make the journey of others—patients and families—more bearable. The JGH is truly honoured and grateful to be the recipient of such a life-enhancing and enduring legacy." “This is a very special moment for me, because I feel I am doing what Bela would want me to do," says Mrs. Treiser. “He would be proud to know that the fruits of his hard work are being used to help people—people who are sick and suffering and who need care; people who, like you and me, deserve to receive sensitive, compassionate care and respectful treatment when and where they need it the most."

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