From a young age, Mary always had a deep connection with Cambridge Memorial Hospital (CMH). At age 7, the hospital saved her life with surgery during an appendix rupture. This event motivated her father, Bob Sanders, to become deeply involved with both the hospital and the CMH Foundation fundraising Board. During Mary’s teen years, she volunteered as a Candy Striper providing patient comfort, and worked at CMH while attending university. She loved it so much, she continued her father’s legacy by volunteering as a Board member of the CMH Foundation, then the hospital Board. Mary explains, “I’ve always felt that giving back to your community was important and builds a healthier community. The hospital has always been a huge part of my life and with two children and all life’s ups and downs, CMH has always been there for me. I expected to be using the services.”
What Mary wasn’t expecting was a heart attack related to an undiagnosed heart issue that brought her into the Emergency Department, followed by a stay in the Medicine Unit. “I feel my life changed that day. I never thought with my lifestyle that I would end up having this happen,” she says, “and here I was with my husband and kids away, all alone in the hospital in December.” Although alone, Mary knew she was in good hands. “I was so impressed with
the levelheadedness and compassion of the nurses and doctors, who always explained things, made sure I knew what to expect and followed up with me. They were very understanding and extremely caring.”
While recuperating in Medicine, Mary’s thoughts turned to her years of volunteering, when she
used to think that one of these days, she may really need this hospital. “It’s then that it hit me, of putting in all that effort and time supporting CMH, that I realized it was to help me now. Some of the equipment I was fundraising for then was now supporting what I needed. I had to smile because it came full circle,” she said. As an example, Mary mentioned the high-tech bed that’s specifically designed to prevent bed sores, stating “I’m glad that the hospital was able to have this equipment that helped me with my aches and pains and was a comfort to the other patients I spoke with.”
What Mary wants others to understand is that hospital equipment is purchased through the generosity of the community. “We live in this community and CMH is a fabulous facility that we all need to support. We’re part of one of the fastest growing communities in Canada and have to constantly look at how we’re going to support the healthcare needs of all the people in this area.” She ponders a moment and completes her thought, adding “If we want state of the art care, we have to take responsibility for investing in CMH and our own healthcare by supporting the purchase of hospital equipment.”
From CMH volunteer and donor, to patient… Mary’s care has come full circle indeed.