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Jody Appeal

Launched by the IWK Foundation in 2021, the Jody Appeal celebrates the resilience, strength and determination of former IWK patient Jody Ross, her family and the thousands of other patients like her who rely on the IWK during their most challenging times.

Jody’s mother, Mary Theresa Ross is an Honorary Trustee and was a long-time volunteer and employee of the IWK Foundation.  The inaugural year of this campaign also commemorates her retirement and her unwavering dedication to both her daughter and the IWK.

Jody’s extraordinary courage is what has inspired the IWK Foundation to establish the Jody Appeal campaign in her honour.  This annual campaign will raise critical funds in support of women, children and youth at IWK Health.   

“Family is at the heart of the IWK and each family we meet has a unique and powerful story. As both a parent and grandparent, the patients and families I have the privilege of meeting everyday are incredibly inspirational. And, while all of them touch my heart, some have stuck with me and humbled me to my core. Jody and her family are just one example,” says Jennifer Gillivan, President & CEO, IWK Foundation. “In recent years, I’ve seen Jody continue to live with serious medical conditions and I’ve shared many emotional moments with her family. They are strong beyond comprehension.”

“My daughter Jody and my grandson Cameron would not be here today without the doctors and nurses who fought valiantly to save both of their lives. The IWK will forever be a part of our lives,” says Mary Theresa Ross.

“Sharing this story is a way of giving back to the IWK and the people that were, and continue to be, such a big part of my life. My hope is that by doing so, patients like me will continue to receive the best care possible,” says Jody.

The Ross family’s IWK story spans over four decades, beginning when Jody was a toddler living in Cape Breton and continuing into adulthood. Despite it being her home-away-from-home for much of her young life, Jody looks back at her time spent at the IWK, and the care teams who treated her with so much compassion, with gratitude.  

Cartoon sparrow

A sparrow, a symbol of hope and courage, is featured throughout the Jody Appeal. As a child, each time Jody returned home from a hospital stay, she would celebrate by cutting off her hospital bracelets. When she was in her early 20s, Jody went an entire year without spending a single night in the hospital. To celebrate this milestone, she had her favourite bird tattooed onto her wrists so that whenever she would be in the hospital next, she could look under her bracelets and be reminded that she would get to go home and, like the sparrows, fly free again.

Jody’s story is one of tremendous resilience, strength, love and hope. It is one of thousands told by those who visit the IWK each year. By supporting The Jody Appeal, donors like you can help ensure patients like Jody have access to the very best in care, equipment, facilities and research that will help meet their needs when they need it. 

To learn more about Jody and her story, please visit Meet Our Heroes.