30 Donor Stories – Challenging Stereotypes, Providing Care

November 8, 2016

Kimberley chose nursing as her profession because helping people was important to her.

With the support and encouragement of her family, Kimberley attended a university in northern Ontario and, during her final year, was one of six students who visited remote aboriginal communities to provide healthcare. This experience, like other experiences since that time, encouraged Kimberley to look beyond her own life and think deeply about issues of housing, poverty and accessibility.

“It’s so easy to tune out what is going on around us, to not bother to notice the people who need help as we walk down the street,  or to think that what we can offer will not make a difference,” Kimberley remarks. “We need to look beyond the stereotypes and recognize that we are all individuals with hopes and dreams.”

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Kimberley’s nursing career began in a hospital acute care setting and then with public health. She is keenly interested in work that includes teaching and advocacy, and was inspired by other nurses, including the founders of Street Health. When she was working in Toronto, Kimberley arranged her schedule to accommodate weekly volunteer time at Street Health. Over two years, she became familiar with many Street Health clients. “The individuals I saw needed a variety of health services but they also needed to know there was someone who cared about them as a person,” Kimberley recalls. “As clients began to share their stories with me I realized that many were in situations that could happen to anyone. It was a life-altering experience; it made me acutely aware of not taking anything for granted.  My husband and I continue to live this philosophy every day.”

When Kimberley and her husband decided to relocate, she spent the next 17 years working in homecare and hospice services in the United States before eventually returning to Ontario. During this time, Kimberley maintained her support for Street Health, first with an annual donation and then becoming a monthly donor. Kimberley now continues to work in hospice care providing vital community services with a large volunteer team. “I’ve seen, first hand, how a small, but powerful organization like Street Health is making a difference. When client service centers on listening to people, providing inclusive support, and forming partnerships that respond to clients’ changing needs, that service is going to have a huge impact in the community.”

For the last 30 years, individual donors and volunteer nurses, like Kimberley, have made key contributions to what Street Health does each day. As Kimberley states, “As much as I’ve been able to share with patients, I’ve also learned so much. I will continue to support Street Health and hope other people will get involved too.  One of the great things about Canada is that we think and care about each other and giving is a way that we can share those beliefs with those that just need some support.”