Finding joy in giving

John and Jane Downs have turned their care experiences at St. Joseph’s into a deep and active relationship that encompasses education and philanthropy.

John and Jane Downs describe themselves as ‘average Canadians’, but their commitment to investing in and learning about healthcare is anything but average. 

What started as an annual donation from the local couple who were grateful for their care has grown into a deep relationship with St. Joseph’s. 

“We are not wealthy, we are pretty ordinary actually but we feel it is important to contribute and take an active role in healthcare,” says Jane. “That’s why we donate.” And it’s also why the Downs take the time to attend events, such as Breakfast of Champions and the Tribute Dinner, read the semi-annual My St. Joseph’s magazine and regularly attend and listen to the DocTalks events and podcasts. 

Jane and John Downs in formal attire at RBC Place London
Jane and John Downs attending one of the recent events hosted by St. Joseph's at RBC Place London 

Raising their family in Mississauga, the Downs moved to Kincardine for their retirement. Their days were filled with golfing, curling, and fitness classes, until some serious health issues began to surface. 

In the past eight years, Jane has had two aortic valves replaced on separate occasions, and had a perforated intestine resulting in a month-long ICU stay with a biomesh used to cover the wound. Most recently a viral infection migrated to her spine and a spinal fusion was needed. She was referred to Parkwood Institute’s Wound Management Clinic for the biomesh, where she was treated by Dr. David Keast. 

“Thanks to the wound clinic, Dr. Keast, nurses and ongoing homecare, the wound healed,” says Jane.

More recently, John had retina eye surgery at the Ivey Eye Institute.

Not only was John pleased with his surgical outcomes, he was appreciative of the level and type of care he received. 

“The care was excellent,” says John. “I find it a very caring place, the team there addresses your issues, makes you feel comfortable, all while being efficient and organized. It’s just a very calming place.”

Grateful for the compassionate care he received, the couple donated through St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation and thus began a longstanding commitment from the couple to be involved. 

“It started off as an interest because we were going to hospitals so much but it has developed into more of a commitment because of the great care we had,” says Jane.

And they are grateful to St. Joseph’s for expanding their horizons regarding supporting health care. 

“We don’t want to be passive patients, we want to be active members who contribute and help out where and when we can. “This is our way of giving back for the many years of excellent service and care,” they say. “It has become a bit of a hobby for us and we enjoy and appreciate it very much.”

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