Volunteer. Donor. Health care advocate. Jan Oates is all these things and so much more.
Jan began working as a kindergarten teacher straight after high school, working hard to achieve her post-secondary education while she taught.
She had 36 years of teaching experience when she retired at 54; sadly, it was at that time that her husband died of a heart condition.
Reeling from her loss and needing a change of pace, Jan began volunteering in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at University Hospital, where she generously contributed her time and passion for almost two decades. Jan was privy to countless profound and intense moments in peoples’ lives and was an essential member of the ICU team. She even lobbied to have an additional quiet room created for family members of patients. When she learned the hospital didn’t have the funds to create the new room, Jan donated the $70,000 required to renovate the space.
Through this generous gift, she became involved with LHSF and developed a close relationship with LHSF’s Simona Dobransky. Jan and Simona toured various areas of the hospital together, which fueled Jan’s passion for mental health care and women’s care as she witnessed the advances being made in those areas.
“I feel as I grow older, money takes on a different meaning. Material possessions and trips are fleeting, but a donation to a cause I feel so passionate about represents an investment in the future. It also provides me with meaning and purpose in my life, as I have learned what a difference a gift can make.”-Jan Oates
With her desire to give back growing deeper every day, Jan scheduled a meeting with both her financial advisor and LHSF. Through this meeting, she decided that giving gifts of securities was the greatest way to maximize the impact of her donations to the hospital.
“It’s wonderful to see the results of the money that I’m donating being used and to see what it’s being used for,” Jan says.
Over the years, Jan’s generous donations have been allocated to the First Episode Mood and Anxiety Program (FEMAP), cardiac care, and women’s patient care, among other areas close to her heart.
Jan is also a grateful patient, recently undergoing a vascular surgery that saved her leg from potential amputation after severe blockage, and also an orthopaedic surgery to repair her broken hip.
“Thankfully, I have no more pain,” Jan says. “Before the surgery, I used to wake up four or five times in the night to do a jig to make sure my leg was still there.”
Through these many experiences as patient, volunteer and donor, Jan understands how philanthropy truly makes a difference to health care in our community, and she is happy to be in a position to be able to contribute to that difference, recently planning a legacy gift in her Will towards women’s care at LHSC.
“Jan’s generosity has allowed us to advance simulation training, fund much-needed renovations and enhance patient care,” says Deborah Wiseman, Interim Director, Women’s Care Program. “We’re so grateful to Jan for her tremendous support both through the donations she has already made and through her thoughtful planned gift.”