The great great great granny connection
Not many people can say they share a workplace with their great great great grandmother. But Kendal Cushman can.
Kendal, a personal support worker (PSW) at Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care for the past 15 years “and counting”, was long preceded at St. Joseph’s by his triple G grandmother, Katherine Galloway, who was the head of housekeeping in her day.
“She was my grandmother's grandmother on my father's side,” explains Kendal. “She had emigrated to Canada shortly after 1923 from Patrick in Glasgow, Scotland, and took up housekeeping for a few wealthy families in London while also overseeing the housekeeping department at St. Joseph’s.”
Kendal estimates that Katherine would have been employed at St. Joseph’s in the 1930s and early 1940s before passing away in 1944 at age 66.
Another Cushman clan member was Kendal’s sister, Nancy McFadden, who worked in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at St. Joseph’s Hospital for many years, providing administrative support to the several neonatologists. As an NICU staff member and mom to a premature newborn who received care in the NICU, Nancy was an enthusiastic champion of the program. She was on staff when the program moved to London Health Sciences Centre in 2011 and a highlight of her career, according to Kendal, was helping to organize the NICU gala in celebration of the unit’s legacy at St. Joseph’s.
On the last day of the perinatal program at St. Joseph’s, staff lined the hallways starting at 6:30 am for an emotional salute to the shift leaving the hospital for the last time and those arriving for their final shift. Nancy brought her toddler, still in his pyjamas, to join the crowd. With a giant thank-you sign, his presence was one of the most heart-warming moments of that last day.
Nancy moved to LHSC with the program but sadly passed away in 2012. Her son, Xander, is now a vibrant, healthy 16-year-old who is doing well in high school.
With Nancy being nine years older than Kendal, he has fond memories volunteering in her office while in high school doing mail runs and other tasks.
“When I graduated from the PSW program at Fanshawe College and was looking to start my career, Nancy told me to apply to Mount Hope. My first day on a unit, I felt I was at home. Not only had I discovered an organization sharing the same values as I do, but I also began meeting the faces of those who make up the organization. From leadership to housekeeping, we all have a major role and are a part of the mission to serve those who need care.”
Kendal says he continues to enjoy the family connection at St. Joseph’s – with his other family – his teammates.
“We are family on our units. Empathy, compassion, and respect are only a few values and standards of those I am honoured to work with. I am humbly honoured to enter my 16th year with St. Joseph’s and know the future of the organization is bright.”