David Shashoua’s Story: Home for the Holidays
My name is David Shashoua. I’m 55 years old, and thanks to the JGH and the generosity of donors, I am spending the holidays at home with my family.
I was treated at the JGH for a severe drug reaction known as DRESS (Drug Reaction with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms), which developed after I underwent an MRI scan. This past summer, I was accepted into the Hospital@Home program.
If you haven’t heard of it, this program allows eligible patients to be monitored and cared for remotely by healthcare staff in the comfort of their own homes. Thankfully, I met the criteria to be admitted to the virtual ward. I was sent home, and my vitals were monitored remotely. I was given all the tools I needed, which included daily delivery of my medication. Every morning, I checked my heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar levels and temperature. I shared the information with the nursing team.
At one point, I was even given a battery-powered pump that I carried inside a holster across my shoulder. It was connected to an IV in my arm to deliver antibiotics. The team really gave me everything that was needed to safeguard my health.
For me, being home throughout my treatment and recovery meant everything. It meant I was home every night with my wife and children. It meant I could help with simple chores around the house, walk my dog, and continue to run my company.
For the hospital and our overwhelmed healthcare system, it meant that I wasn’t occupying a bed. A bed that could be used for someone who really needed it.
You can support the healthcare system by helping to fund critical initiatives like the JGH’s Hospital@Home. You can support exceptional patient care, groundbreaking research, and forward-thinking innovation at the JGH.
As a patient of Hospital@Home, I learned that this program is funded by donor dollars.
So, when you think about what kind of impact you want to have this holiday season, I hope I can convince you to make a generous gift to the JGH. Your support will help bring patients like me home for the holidays.
Until December 31, your impact will be even greater because the JGH Foundation’s Board of Directors is matching your donation to the JGH annual fund, dollar-for-dollar!*
That means your donation will have TWICE THE IMPACT!
The JGH is a true trailblazer. It is constantly innovating and bringing new programs to improve the patient experience and to solve some of the most urgent challenges our healthcare system is facing.
A donation to the JGH is an investment in better care, better health, and better outcomes.
This holiday season, please give generously, and your gift will be MATCHED!David Shashoua JGH Hospital@Home Patient
*Donations to the JGH annual fund will be matched up to a total of $100,000 until December 31st, 2023.
Jewish General Hospital treats first patient in Quebec with state-of-the-art MOLLI medical device
Elevating Level of Care for Breast Cancer Patients
Montreal, November 27, 2023 – For the first time in Quebec, the Jewish General Hospital (JGH), a member facility of CIUSSS West-Central Montreal, has used a medical device known as MOLLI® on a breast cancer patient.
The made-in-Canada device implants a tiny tissue marker for localizing lesions for breast surgery. This innovative technology is wire-free and radiation-free.
"The MOLLI device is a game-changer," says Dr. Jean-Francois Boileau (Surgical Oncologist, JGH Segal Cancer Centre), who performed the procedure earlier this month. "From the radiology team that inserts these markers into the patients before surgery to the operating room nurses and surgical oncology teams, this is truly a multi-disciplinary effort that leverages expertise across our healthcare spectrum. We look forward to treating and helping many more patients going forward."
“The procedure was painless, it was a seamless experience," says the patient who wishes to remain anonymous. "The entire team was wonderful. Thank you to everyone who made this possible."
"We are very proud to be the first in Quebec to employ this technology," says Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg, President and CEO of CIUSSS West-Central Montreal. "Innovation is what we’re all about and it’s gratifying to see how technology and clinical expertise continue to be at the forefront of how we provide healthcare in a manner that is safe, more efficient and in line with better outcomes for our patients.”
“Thanks to an exceptional donor, whose vision is to rapidly provide cutting-edge equipment, the Foundation is thrilled to play a role in the introduction of this state-of-the-art procedure. Once again affirming our mission to provide patients in Montreal and the province of Quebec with access to innovative care,” says Bram Freedman, President and CEO of the Jewish General Hospital Foundation.
The MOLLI device:
Video-recording of the procedure:
About the Jewish General Hospital:
The Jewish General Hospital (JGH), repeatedly ranked by Newsweek among the top 3 hospitals in Quebec, among the top 10 in Canada and among the top 125 in the world, is an acute and specialized care McGill University teaching hospital. The JGH has been serving a diverse patient population irrespective of religion, language, or ethnic background since it was founded in 1934.
About the Jewish General Hospital Foundation:
Since 1969, the mission of the Jewish General Hospital Foundation has been to advance healthcare and medical research for the people of Quebec by supporting Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital. The Foundation provides essential assistance to the Hospital to enhance its extraordinary patient care, further scientific discovery, and acquire innovative medical equipment. We partner with inspired community members to implement a variety of fundraising initiatives to achieve the Hospital’s ambitious goals.
My wife saved my life: Charles’ story
Waking up in the hospital was a disorienting experience for me. I couldn’t remember much – in fact, I recalled almost nothing from a week prior to my hospitalization.
It all started on a typical morning. My wife Dorothy and I got up at 6:30 a.m., drank coffee together, and worked on some sudoku puzzles. Then we exercised and had breakfast. Our plan was to shop at Jean-Talon market with friends and go out for lunch.
As I was getting dressed, my heart stopped. I suffered a cardiac arrest.
Dorothy heard me fall and came running to help. She was terrified when she found me unmoving on the floor and called 911. Responding to the crisis, my courageous 76-year-old wife began to administer CPR. as the 911 dispatcher stayed on the phone. She continued CPR until the first responders arrived. The manual pumping from the CPR forced blood through my veins and ensured my brain got oxygen.
I was brought to the Jewish General Hospital (JGH), where the doctors did an angiogram and put me in a medically induced coma. Since I had been without a heartbeat for 20 minutes, they told Dorothy my chances of neurological recovery were low and not to get her hopes up.
But after four days in the induced coma, I woke up! Thanks to my wife, and my good fortune at being taken to the JGH, I was one of the lucky ones. The survival rate for people suffering out-of-hospital (OOH) cardiac arrest is low, but Dorothy, the first responders and the JGH saved my life.
My patient experience was positive in many ways. The Azrieli Heart Centre’s Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit is in the new Pavilion K, and the rooms are state-of-the-art. They come with the latest equipment and technologies to ensure patients like me get the best possible care!
For two weeks, I was cared for by exceptional doctors, nurses, nutritionists, physical and occupational therapists, and a social worker. Dorothy and I were amazed and grateful for the kindness, empathy, and knowledge each medical expert displayed.
In the news, you’ll often hear about the failures of our medical system. But on the front lines, thousands of medical personnel go to great lengths to help their patients. That’s what I witnessed in my time at the JGH. Somehow, my stay in the ICU and the Cardiology department felt comforting and positive, even in light of the trauma Dorothy and I had experienced.
Our lives are mostly back to normal. We can do many of the things we did before, but our perspectives have changed. I have learned that while our current system may not be perfect, private donations to the JGH are quickly invested in equipment, technology, staff, and renovations. I saw it myself first-hand.
It’s undeniable – support from donors makes the difference between a GOOD hospital and a GREAT one. Government funding simply is not enough. That’s why, on behalf of my wife and me, I am asking you to please donate to the JGH annual fund.
Thank you for your support. It truly contributes to the exceptional care at the JGH – and makes all the difference to patients like me.
IN HONOUR OF AN EXCEPTIONAL VOLUNTEER, SHEILA KUSSNER
In June 2022, we inaugurated a beautiful recognition installation at the JGH in honour of an exceptional volunteer, Sheila Kussner. We are pleased to acknowledge her awe-inspiring contribution to the field of cancer support with an installation that embodies the hope and support she brought to so many.
In 1981, Kussner founded Hope & Cope, a support centre located at the JGH’s Segal Cancer Centre that is dedicated to the welfare of cancer patients. The Centre’s innovative psychosocial support program is designed to meet the complex emotional and practical needs of cancer patients and their caregivers at every stage -- from diagnosis through treatment, wellness, recovery, recurrence, and when necessary, palliative care and bereavement.
Kussner, who is herself a cancer survivor, passionately believes that, under the guidance of professionals, volunteers with experience of cancer can provide credible support to fellow cancer patients. Her vision for Hope & Cope has been emulated in similar centres across Canada and around the world due to its innovative psychosocial support program.
RECOGNIZING A PIONEER OF CANCER SUPPORT
She has been recognized time and time again for her pioneering work, including being named an Officer of the Order of Canada, an Officer of the Order of Quebec, and Governor Emerita of McGill University, which also awarded her an LL.D. degree (honora causa).
In 1995, the JGH presented her with its highest honour, the Distinguished Service Award, while in November 2010, she received an honourary doctorate from the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Montreal, which attests to her broad influence in healthcare. In 2013, the JGH Foundation appointed Kussner as Director Emeritus in honour of her unique contribtuion to the Foundation and its mission.
She has received many other honours and tributes. These include, to name a few, the Robert Fisher Fellowship Award (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City), the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award (Association of Fundraising Professionals – Québec section).
A second chance: Rebecca’s Story
I was 43 years old and five months pregnant when I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
I was terrified. The doctors now faced the challenge of saving two lives: my life and the life of my unborn child.
My team of medical experts included an oncologist, a gynecologist, a surgeon, and a radiologist. They frequently met to determine which treatment path would give us the best chance to have the family we had always dreamed of. I was confident that I was in the best hands.
So, when the decision was made to deliver the baby at 27 weeks by C-Section, I knew it was the best option to give my baby and myself a fighting chance. The plan was clear: once I recovered from the surgery, radiation would begin to shrink my tumour so they could operate to remove it.
William was born weighing under 2 pounds. He was cared for by the fantastic NICU team for three months as I began treatment and eventually underwent surgery.
The JGH made two of our dreams come true! William grew healthier by the day, and my surgery was successful. The JGH doctors were able to remove the cancer.
I am just one example of the incredible life-saving miracles that happen every day at the JGH. I owe it to my dedicated medical team, who cared for my family like we were their own.
I’ve learned that this is largely possible because of generous donors like YOU.
Your donations help families like mine have a second chance. Your donations fund scientific breakthroughs and innovation. They also ensure the best medical experts are available when we need them most.
Today, my son William is two years old. He is a bubbly little kid with a great personality!
I feel so much gratitude for the team at the JGH and the countless donors like you who support the Hospital.
Please give generously to the JGH annual Fund, so they can continue to perform miracles. Donations are invested in the Hospital’s most urgent priorities, like cancer research, the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit, surgical equipment, and world-class medical experts.
You have the power to save lives. I am proof of that! Please give today.
With my family’s heartfelt gratitude,
Rebecca, JGH Patient
“Working at the hospital, it's an honour. That's what I feel. I feel really proud.” - Larry Sidel, Executive Vice-President of the JGH Foundation
On December 31, 2021, the JGH’s beloved Larry Sidel will mark exactly 50 years since he began his work in the healthcare sector. On that day, he will hang up his hat and retire. His long-running career has been filled with many warm relationships, fond memories and the attainment of lofty goals.
Larry accomplished wonderful things in his five decades of work. As an Administrator at the Montreal General Hospital, he was recognized with the prestigious Award of Merit for his work that went above and beyond his responsibilities. At the JGH Foundation, he was pivotal in raising money for many projects: the Clinical Research Unit, the Molecular Pathology Centre, the Microbiology Lab, the Nephrology Centre, the Psychiatric Department, and many others.
“When I started working at the Montreal General Hospital, they had a reception honouring people who worked in the institution for 25 years or more. I remember watching people get their certificate and saying to someone I was with, 'How could anybody stay in a place 25 years? Who wants to keep a person who has been working for 25 years?"
Larry started his career at the Montreal General Hospital. When he was hired, they were setting up a new system for managing non-nursing functions on each floor. Larry’s organizational and leadership skills were deeply valued, and not just at work. He used to organize an annual Christmas party for the children of staff at the Montreal General, and over 500 children would come. Every year, he would help to put up a big Christmas tree in the lobby.
Larry started doing some projects at the Royal Victoria Hospital in the mid-90s. He began working with Mona Kravitz, who was the Director of Nursing there. Not long after Mona was hired as Director of Nursing at the JGH, she recommended Larry to Myer Bick, then President of the JGH Foundation.
At first, Larry was doubtful, but Mona convinced him to apply.
“Come home to the Jewish,” she told him.
For Myer, hiring Larry was an easy decision.
“We wanted someone to be the chief administrator of the Foundation,” Myer recalled. “Well, Mona was a very strong lady and was very definite about everything she did. That’s how Larry came to join us. Personally, we hit it off really well.”
Larry's first projects were varied. He oversaw the rebuild and redesign of the office after a storm flooded the premises. He created an employee manual, put in place a Human Resources department, and took care of other administrative projects.
At first, the culture of the JGH took him by surprise. Here, everyone called him “Larry”, whereas he was used to being called “Mr. Sidel” at the MGH.
A FEW PARTING WORDS ...
"Larry is a special kind of guy. He's just a person that has the hospital in his heart. He knows almost everything and everybody at the hospital. He has a great reputation with the doctors and with everybody else at the hospital. Nobody can see a bad word about Larry. "
Edward Wiltzer, Past Chair of the Board of the JGH Foundation
"Larry has a way of making his donor feel like a king or queen. You can’t be any more impactful on your donor than Larry is. He not only looks at people as donors to the hospital, but he really becomes attached to them, and quite frankly, they become attached to him. Larry’s one of a kind, and a phenomenal man to work with."
Harvey Levenson, Chair of the Board of the JGH Foundation
"I hired Larry because we wanted a chief administrator of the Foundation, so that's how he came to join us. Larry loves his wife, he loves his kids, he loves his grandkids. And his fourth Love is the hospital.
He pretty much single-handedly went after donations, and worked with the doctors and the leaders of certain departments very closely and raised significant dollars. These are multi-million dollar projects, and he had a lot to do with that."
Myer Bick, past President and CEO of the JGH Foundation
"Larry is probably the most passionate and committed person to the hospital in the Foundation that I know. And I know a lot of passionate and committed people, but he has lived and breathed this place for 20 years. It's really been his main focus."
Bram Freedman, President and CEO of the JGH Foundation
In one of his first big meetings, he raised a hand tentatively as people spoke over each other. The chair of the meeting looked at Larry and said, “What are you raising your hand for? Speak!”
With time, Larry came to love the new environment at the JGH.
“Then he sort of transformed into a super fundraiser. After a number of years, he fell totally in love with the hospital,” Myer said.
“Fundraising is about friend-raising, you have to raise friends first. So I became friends with people as they came in the door.” – Larry
The job was a perfect fit for Larry. Donors, doctors, and other administrators at the JGH simply related to him and his easygoing personality. He had and continues to have a tremendous rapport with everyone he encounters.
In multiple departments across the hospital, Larry has had a remarkable impact. One example is the Sandra & Steven Mintz Nephrology Centre, which was renovated in 2016. The Centre is in a whole new league since it was redone. It has spacious hemodialysis stations with more privacy, up-to-date isolation areas, an upgraded water filtration system, a dedicated pick-up and drop-off area, offices for staff, and meeting rooms.
The new Nephrology Centre was possible, in large part, because of Larry’s fundraising work.
Another of Larry’s major projects at the JGH was Mindstrong, an annual fundraising initiative for the Psychiatry department that has been running for 7 years. When it first launched, mental health was widely neglected, and the stigma surrounding it was a big problem. Still, Larry persisted in taking on the cause.
“I went on a tour of the old Psychiatry unit, and I said to myself, I can't let it stay like this,” Larry said.
Not only did Larry raise his goal of $5 million for Mindstrong, he went above and beyond, raising $9 million. Combined with other fundraisers, a remarkable total of $16 million was raised for the Psychiatry Department.
While the old ward averaged one bathroom for every nine patients, each bathroom in the new unit is shared by only two patients, with showers in almost every bathroom. It spans 1000 square metres larger than the previous ward. The atmosphere has completely turned around, thanks in large part to Larry’s work.
“In 50 years of working, I never felt like I was going to work. So many people say, 'I can't wait till I retire'. And I say the opposite. I'm nervous about retirement.” – Larry
Larry has put in countless hours at the JGH, including many weeknights and weekends, working tirelessly in service of the hospital and the Foundation. When he retires, he will continue to volunteer with the JGH and elsewhere, devoting his energy to many causes. He plans to help out at a school for autistic children and to volunteer with MADA, which helps give food to hungry families. He plans to spend time with his family, and he even has plans to learn to play the piano.
Focus on Oncology
Renowned oncologist and Director, Dr. Gerald Batist, shares his unique perspective on the JGH’s Segal Cancer Centre, and how this state-of-the-art facility and incomparable interdisciplinary team are leading the way to provide patients with the most comprehensive approach to care, at each step of their journey—including cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, psychosocial support and nutritional support.
Donor Spotlight Template
Vicki’s Glioblastoma Story
When Vicki was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) nearly nine-years ago, very little research existed on this aggressive cancer of the brain. Doctors gave her 12-14 months to live, which is common for patients with GBM. Since being diagnosed, Vicki’s read up on all available GBM information that she can get her hands on and spoken with as many people as possible. It’s how she came to find out that no further research would be conducted in New Zealand.
That’s why in 2016, she was overjoyed to see that a research team thousands of miles away was making breakthroughs at the JGH’s Lady Davis Institute (LDI). A research team led by Dr. Arezu Jahani-Asl made a world-renowned discovery by identifying a protein responsible for the growth of brain tumours. It found that the tumors, known as glioblastomas, can only form if a particular protein is present.
For terminally-ill people like Vicki, research is much for than scientific knowledge. It provides hope to patients and their families.
“I cried for hours, knowing that someone cared. Someone did believe. Someone saw me as more than a statistic. Thank you, Dr. Jahani-Asl, for not giving up on us. Thank you for giving us hope.”
Despite the initial prognosis, she’s very much alive today. Vicki herself is a figure of hope, defying the odds and creating a support group for terminally-ill people. Her plan this year? To to continue being awesome!
Dr. Jahani-Asl is now developing antibodies and small molecules to inhibit the OSMR protein or its interaction with EGFRvIII—a step toward the ultimate goal of finding ways to treat these tumors
Like Vicki, the JGH Foundation is grateful for donors, who make breakthroughs possible. Donors like you play an essential role in the progress of research. You help create resources, facilitate access to equipment, and give access to more screenings. You, too, are a source of hope for patients!
Focus on Community Partner Events
Dr. Tsafrir Vanounou and patients highlight the importance of partnership in the fight against cancer, and how the act of rallying your community through local events can make a significant difference in the lives of patients now and in the future. This is a must-watch for anyone whose experience at the JGH can act as a driving force to increase awareness and funds for an important cause.
Focus on Mental Health
Join Florence K and Chief of Psychiatry, Dr. Karl Looper, in this eye-opening and heartfelt look at mental health, and the importance of driving change in this area—something which has been central to the growth of this department at the Hospital. These vital services, offered to a broad range of Quebecers from youth to the elderly, are largely made possible thanks to your donor dollars.