Back to top

Gratitude Report 2021

Jennifer's Message

Maritime women and children didn’t stop needing care just because there was a pandemic and the IWK didn’t have a choice but to show up for them. But you did have a choice. And you chose to continue to also show up for IWK patients. Read More

Coming Together for the IWK

Throughout 2020-21, the dedication, passion and generosity of our community never wavered. Donors, like you, made incredible things happen for the IWK. Here is a snapshot of what you made possible.

COVID-19 graphic

April 2020 – Nova Scotia COVID-19 Health Research Coalition

The IWK Foundation partnered with other research funding organizations to form the Nova Scotia COVID-19 Health Research Coalition in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which made a collective investment of just over $1.5 million. Our organization funded two projects: Care Optimized using Clinical Virtual Pathways to Engage and Support NICU Families led by Dr. Marsha Campbell-Yeo and Use of a Learning Health System Framework to Examine Quality and Safety Improvement at the IWK Health Centre during COVID-19 Planning led by Dr. Janet Curran.

Virtual Mental Health Icon

May 2020  Virtual Mental Health

At the beginning of the pandemic, the IWK quickly deemed shifting mental health care to a virtual model an urgent priority. This model became a reality thanks to a $300,000 collective donor investment. This support ensured that children, youth and families had increased access to quality mental health and addictions care during COVID-19 and beyond.

Interviews with Kids logo

Summer 2020 – Interviews with Kids

During the summer of 2020, Interviews with Kids was launched as a way to bring stories from the IWK to our donors through the voice of IWK patients. This social media show was hosted by two young patients and featured segments hosted by other IWK patients as well. They interviewed doctors and their peers and shared their tips on how to manage quarantine — kid style. This was an opportunity to provide a message of resilience and hope from kids to our Maritime community.

PICU image

October 2021 PICU Virtual Opening

Supporters were recognized as part of the virtual opening of the IWK’s newly constructed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), which was 100 per cent funded by donors. Thanks to our community, the IWK’s most vulnerable patient population now has a world-class facility to receive life-saving critical care when they need it most. 

Gifts of Greatness icon

 December 2020 – Launch of IWK Care Catalogue

The IWK Care Catalogue has been a great way for the community to support the IWK’s most urgent priorities while giving a meaningful gift in honour of family, friends, employees or customers. Items listed in the online catalogue are symbolic and represent the various types of programs, equipment, research and facilities at the IWK. Visit to learn more.

IWK Telethon 37 logo

January 2021 – IWK Telethon Return Announced

After having to cancel the IWK Telethon for Children in 2020 for the first time in 36 years, we proudly announced that Telethon 37 would return in June 2021. Working in partnership with CTV, this time-honoured annual fundraiser was reimagined with plans to bring the broadcast to life in an innovative, virtual and safe way. Together with our community, the goal was to continue the tradition of recognizing the incredible generosity of donors throughout the Maritimes and of course, raise much-needed funds.

100 Hours for the Kids logo

February 2021 – 100 Hours for the Kids 

Taking a pause in 2020 due to the pandemic, 100 Hours for the Kids (formerly known as Radiothon) was a resounding success in 2021 raising an incredible $251,063.10 for the IWK. The power of radio, the impact of the IWK on the Maritimes and the generosity of the community was truly apparent during this four-day fundraising event broadcast on 10 Bell Media radio stations across the Maritimes.

Dr. Janet Curran

March 2021 –  Quality and Patient Safety Applied Research Chair Announced

After an international search, Dr. Janet Curran, PhD, RN, Professor, School of Nursing, Dalhousie, and Clinician Scientist at IWK Health was announced as the inaugural Quality and Patient Safety Applied Research Chair. This applied research chair is a first of its kind and was created at the IWK through an initiative of the Department of Health and Wellness, in collaboration with the IWK Foundation, IWK Health, Nova Scotia Health, Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Health and Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Medicine. The chair will be funded by ongoing donor support.

Did You Know?

The IWK Foundation is co-owner and member of Canada’s Children’s Hospital Foundations (CCHF), a national network that represents 13 children’s hospital foundations. The IWK Foundation played an instrumental role in the creation of CCHF and our president & CEO Jennifer Gillivan is honoured to be serving as its Chair of their Board of Directors. By helping to raise funds for these children’s hospitals, including the IWK, CCHF with its members is the largest non-government funder of child health in Canada.

One of the focuses of CCHF is developing and stewarding national partnerships. This year Sobeys teammates and customers joined together with the Sobey family to support CCHF member hospitals. Stepping in during a time when help and support for children’s mental health is needed more than ever, the A Family of Support: Child and Youth Mental Health Initiative will continue to provide vital funds for early interventions in child and youth mental health across Canada. Funds raised in the Maritimes support the IWK’s Learning Link—a physical and virtual space for clients, families and clinicians to work together to help youth experiencing mental illness gain timely access to high quality evidence-based services. The Learning Link will serve as a hub of expertise for Nova Scotian and Maritime mental health clinicians and community partners to enhance knowledge and deliver the best clinical care.

A Family of Support logo

Stories Connect Us All

The IWK experiences we’ve had personally, or the stories we’ve heard from our family members, friends, neighbours or colleagues have touched us all and inspired us to want to make a difference. Here are a few of the moments you’ve made possible for patients and their families by coming together as a community for the IWK.  

Norah Matchett, IWK patient
Big Brave Norah

Imagine being five years old and knowing you need to have another surgery for your cleft palate, but you have a deep fear of hospitals. This fear stems from your early years being cared for in India before you were adopted into a loving home in New Brunswick. 

This was the reality facing Norah Matchett when she received a six-hour surgery at the IWK this summer to repair four holes in her palate, remove three baby teeth and receive a bone graph from her hip to rebuild her gumline. 

Knowing she would be nervous heading into the operating room, her care team devised a plan. They wheeled her into the operating room to the tune “Let it Go” which is the theme song from her favourite movie Frozen. Some of her surgeons even joined Norah in singing along! 

Norah’s surgery went remarkably well and after several weeks of healing, she spent the rest of the summer swimming and playing in the water at pools and beaches with her family. She was also so excited to join her big brother on the school bus this year as she started kindergarten! 

Learn more about Norah and watch her 2021 Telethon story.

Braeden Lightfoot, IWK patient
Braeden’s Graduation

Most of us remember the feeling of graduating from high school and the excitement of thinking about what comes next. For Braeden Lightfoot of Windsor Junction, NS, celebrating his high school graduation this year was something that seemed nearly impossible as he began to seriously struggle with his mental health during his Grade 10 year. 

Braeden became withdrawn. It was difficult for him to get out of bed and do the things he loved. His friends noticed too and voiced their concerns to the school nurse. She was very worried and connected the Lightfoots with the IWK. 

Adolescent Intensive Services (AIS)—a day treatment program through the IWK—was a turning point for Braeden. He began the program in March 2020, but two days later the pandemic shut the facility down. Care quickly shifted online and Braeden attended virtual sessions each day for individual therapy, group therapy and school support. This continued until August when he was able to start attending AIS in-person.

Braeden completed the program in the fall of 2020 and continued to receive follow-up care for several more months. He says the program not only helped him with his mental health, but with his studies and other aspects of his life. Thanks to the support he received, he’s grateful to be back to being an active participant in his life.

Tiffany Rouleau, IWK patient
Tiffany’s Miracle

When you think about a 27-year-old woman visiting the IWK for care, your first thought is likely that she’s expecting a baby. However, that wasn’t the reality that faced Tiffany Rouleau of Halifax, NS four years ago. Her IWK story starts with breast cancer. 

Tiffany was diagnosed at the IWK’s Breast Health Centre in May 2017. Her tumour was growing at a rapid pace and treatment to shrink it needed to start immediately. It left no time for her to explore fertility options and her dreams of becoming a mother in the future were placed in jeopardy.

Tiffany received six rounds of intense chemotherapy before undergoing a mastectomy on her left side at the IWK. That was followed by 25 rounds of radiation. After overcoming her cancer, Tiffany’s body was in a menopausal state as a side-effect of the medication she was taking to prevent a cancer recurrence. She stopped taking that medication last year and what happened next Tiffany calls her miracle: she became pregnant with baby Charlie. 

Tiffany’s pregnancy was monitored closely by the IWK’s Fetal Assessment and Treatment Centre where everyone was so happy for her to be bringing new life into the world after all she had been through. And for her nothing compared to the feeling of welcoming Charlie this summer.

Meet baby Charlie.

A Message From Dr. Shannon MacPhee

My name is Shannon MacPhee and I am a Pediatric Emergency Doctor at the IWK. I fell in love with the pace, the comradery and culture at the IWK Emergency Department (ED) in my second year of medical school and I’ve been here as a staff physician since 2005. I love working as part of a team to take care of the young babies, toddlers, children and youth who come in with unexpected illnesses or injuries. It’s a real privilege to help provide care to families when they need it the most. Read More

The Maritimes’ IWK

The IWK was built through the generosity of our community and continues to thrive thanks to donors, like you. All across the Maritimes individuals, families, kids, community groups, corporations and small businesses come together each year, collectively raising millions of dollars to fund the priority needs of the IWK. Many of these donors have personal connections to the IWK and want to give back to support women, children and families. Here are their stories.

Illustrated map of the Maritime Provinces
Ivan & Vivian Hicks, IWK Estate Donors

“We have dedicated a large part of our life working with young people as teachers in the public school system and as music mentors. Family members before us also set the example of giving to the IWK. We recognize the value of the service that the IWK gives to the children and their families. Many young lives have been changed and even saved by the IWK.”
- Ivan & Vivian Hicks, IWK Estate Donors

Jeremy Ingham, IWK patient and Cancer Research Trust founder

“Jeremy lived by the motto: ‘If you can help, why wouldn’t you?’ It’s simple and effective, and I will never forget him repeatedly saying this to me. Before he passed away, he made a personal gift to the IWK to establish the Jeremy Ingham Cancer Research Trust to support undergraduate cancer research opportunities. With the goal of improving cancer treatment and outcomes, it was Jeremy’s dream that these studentships ignite the spark of cancer research for continued innovation and discovery.”
– Jennifer Ingham, Jeremy’s mom Major Gift Donor

Reggie & Angela Kendrick, IWK Warriors

“I had long hair for 48 years and someone suggested I shave my head as a fundraiser for the IWK. I thought what a good cause. When you’re helping children, you’re helping someone who has their whole life ahead of them. We signed up as Warriors through the IWK Foundation’s website and Bald for Babes was a great success!”
- Reggie & Angela Kendrick, IWK Warriors

Group photo of Bruce Automotive Group team

“Our group has been operating in NS rural areas for almost 100 years. Small town folks have always been supporting each other in hard times and we’re no exception. Over the years, supporting and growing our people and the communities we operate in has become a core business focus and the IWK was an obvious choice in finding a partner that has the expertise and reach to help us have the most positive impact.”
– Justin Baker, President, Bruce Automotive Group

Katelyn Johnston, organizer, Cody Dixon Memorial Bonspiel

“Following Cody’s passing, we just knew we had to keep his memory alive and a curling bonspiel in support of the IWK seemed like the natural way for us to do this. Every year we are presented with more reasons to support the IWK and it is reassuring to know we have this facility within reach every time that our family members, friends and the greater community are in need of its specific help.”
- Katelyn Johnston, organizer of the Cody Dixon Memorial Bonspiel

Leo & Aggie Gaudet, IWK Monthly Donors

“Our son and niece both had experiences at the IWK and we became monthly donors some years ago to help purchase a piece of equipment. We find it an easy way to donate as it’s automatic every month and we know it helps fund important priorities at the hospital. We also enjoy receiving the newsletters!” 
– Leo & Aggie Gaudet, IWK Monthly Donors

Alyssa Rose, IWK patient & Youth Donor

“I fundraise for the hospital that saved my life and over the last three years, I’ve raised $33,193.”
– Alyssa Rose, IWK Patient & Youth Donor

Brian & Laura Jennex, IWK Founder's Club members

“Our boys bring us the greatest joy in life. We happily do what we can as a gesture of appreciation to the IWK for helping us bring them into the world.”
– Brian & Laura Jennex, IWK Founder’s Club Members

Learn more about all of the ways to give to the IWK Foundation

Thank You for Giving

All of the stories and accomplishments you have just read about were made possible thanks the power of our community coming together for the IWK. In celebration and recognition of this incredible support, please visit to view our 2020 IWK Donor List. 

If you want to share your own story or if you have a fundraising idea you’d like to connect with us about, we’d love to hear from you. Email or call 1-800-595-2266.

Jennifer Gillivan, IWK Foundation President & CEO

For Children. For Women. For the Future.

After reading this newsletter, I hope you have been inspired by the stories from our IWK community.

Every time you make the choice to support the IWK, please know that you are choosing to help change and save lives. You are choosing to put the well-being of Maritime women and children and their families first. With each action of support you take for the IWK, you are making our community better and stronger. That is powerful.

As we talk about the power of the work we do, I would like to wish our very own Mary Theresa Ross, Manager of Personal and Planned Gifts the very best in her retirement. To honour her legacy at the IWK, both professionally and as a volunteer, and to celebrate her daughter Jody we will be launching the Jody Appeal over the coming year. Jody became an IWK patient at a very early age and today demonstrates unwavering strength and resilience as she continues her health journey. Stay tuned for more details.

Women and children are a vital part of our future. I know if we keep working together we will make the IWK the best it can be for them. Never underestimate the difference your generosity makes each and every day.

Please continue to stay healthy and safe.


Every Dollar Makes a Difference

Every donation you make to the IWK Foundation has a direct impact the women and children in our region who rely on specialized and life-saving treatment and care at the IWK.


To learn more about the difference your generosity makes, view the IWK Foundation’s 2020-21 audited financial statements.