For Valerie Aitken, finding a way to heal her heart started with the sudden loss of her beloved husband, Gary, to heart failure. Only six short months later, she learned that she had to find a way to not only heal her heart, but also herself, when she received a grave diagnosis.

Valerie describes the months after her husband’s passing as a deeply difficult time, which was compounded by three bouts of pneumonia, which she attributed to coping with her loss. One particular visit to the McGill University Health Centre’s (MUHC) Royal Victoria Hospital revealed not only pneumonia, but an enlarged heart and blood clots in her lungs. This was scary enough, but to be told that she needed to be checked for a tumour was a total shock! In time, tests revealed that Valerie had ovarian cancer.

Her road to recovery was a long one and she credits her recovery to an amazing team of doctors and nurses headed by Dr. Lucy Gilbert and Dr. Kris Jardon, to whom she is extremely grateful for their help in returning her to an active lifestyle and good health.

Valerie fully believes her healing came not only from the incredible care she received at the MUHC, but also from having an open and positive attitude. She found the strength and courage to learn what to expect after treatment, and also joined a support group for cancer survivors in addition to taking part in art therapy sessions. Valerie says that having all of these services available at the hospital helped her recovery enormously.

She continues to actively support funding research into the causes of ovarian cancer and improved screening for cancer. Her most important decision was to leave a gift in her will to the MUHC Foundation knowing that it will help other patients in similar circumstances.

“It’s a good feeling to know that you can make a difference in other patients’ lives, realizing that your friends or  family may also one day need the MUHC, as Gary and I did. I feel that I have done something truly meaningful by leaving a gift in my will to help support our hospital for years to come,” she states.

If you have a will or intend to update your will, consider leaving a gift to the McGill University Health Centre Foundation.

 Did you know that there are several simple ways to make a gift in your will? We would be honoured to help you build your legacy with us and, by letting us know, it would allow us to thank you in person for your generosity and vision.

If you want to learn more about leaving a gift in your will to the McGill University Health Centre Foundation, please click here.