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).