A Mother’s Promise: The Michael Garron Story

By Mitze Mourinho, President, TEGH Foundation
As you’re all aware by now, the incredible events of yesterday’s $50M donation from the Garron family will forever be remembered as a watershed moment in the history of this hospital.
The Garron’s gift – the largest ever given to a Canadian community hospital – is not only unprecedented, but transformative. Read more about the announcement here.
But the road to yesterday’s announcement began many years ago.
It started with a young boy named Michael.
Michael was born in our hospital in 1962. Like most kids, he was a curious, healthy little boy who loved life.
Then, every parent’s nightmare: at age six, Michael was diagnosed with a rare soft tissue cancer. To stop the spread of the disease, his middle finger and later his right arm, below the elbow, was amputated. He spent much of his youth in and out of hospitals.
Eventually, an inoperable tumour was found behind his heart.
His experience living with cancer and on the brink of death many times over, made him wise beyond his tender years. And he took a philosophical view of life and death. In fact, he was once quoted as saying:
“I’m talking about my living. I’m never going to talk to you about dying. I’m just going to live as long as I can and do as much as I can. It’s stupid to think about dying because then you can’t do anything while you’re living.”

In the end, cancer took him at age 13 – another young life of promise snuffed out too soon.
Before he died, he worried about his legacy. He told his mom, Berna. He worried about being forgotten.
Berna made her son a promise: You will not be forgotten.
Over the years, the Garrons have given generously across the country in Michael Garron’s name. In fact, they’ve donated to our hospital in the past including funds to support the purchase of the Da Vinci Surgical Systems Robot.
The Garrons chose to give to us because they believe in the exemplary work we do and how we do things. And they’ve given us Michael’s name as our new name. For the Garron’s, Toronto East General Hospital is a continued source of pride for them. For us, we can use Michael’s name as both a symbol of hope and pride.
Moving forward, we can dream big – dream about how we can continue to bring innovation to the bedside and continue our track record of providing high-quality care.
Now, these dreams can become a reality.
Yesterday’s $50M gift is a promise kept from a mother to her son. And it is a turning point in our history.
Today, our hospital’s future is secure. We can dream even bigger than we have before. And it’s hoped that the Garron gift will encourage even larger donors to invest in us too.
Our time has come.
If you missed the announcement, please watch!

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