Your Donation Matters to Maria

Give a Gift. Brighten a Life.

black and white photo of elderly woman wearing a helmet on a bike
Maria Deryk gets ready to take a ride in the uniquely engineered bicycle pedaled by recreational therapists at Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care.

Maria Deryk often reflects on joyful memories of her childhood. She was born and raised in Holland in 1926 – the sixth of nine children in her family. Back then, they rode their bikes everywhere, touring nearby cities and exploring the Dutch countryside.

It’s no surprise that Maria’s favourite activity after moving into Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care nearly a year ago is taking a ride on a uniquely engineered bicycle pedaled by therapeutic recreation staff. Maria loves the feeling of the wind rushing past her face on rides through Gibbons Park and Old North.

“Whenever the staff asks me to go for a bike ride, I say yes. I love being outside, it reminds me of being back home in Holland,” she says.

Maria moved to Canada with her husband and two kids in 1962, seeking new work opportunities. They joined Maria’s brother and family in London.

Now, almost 60 years later, spending time with family and biking are still her favourite ways to spend her time. Although her husband passed a few years ago, Maria loves to visit with her two children, her five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Maria lights up talking about her newest great-granddaughter, who just celebrated her first birthday.

Maria and her husband on their wedding day.
Maria Deryk and her husband on their wedding day many years ago.

“My grandson will call and let me see what the little one is doing. She’s so cute,” Maria says.

Maria’s move to Mount Hope has been beneficial for her health and her well-being. She finds it easier to manage her type 2 diabetes, which had been a challenge at her previous residence. In her 96th year, she is in great shape, staying active by using a walker to get around. She enjoys reading, doing Sudoku by her window, sitting outside, and “pub night” when she gets to drink a beer and chat with other residents. It reminds her of the café her family used to run back in Holland and its famous homemade fizzy lemonade.

“I’m content here at Mount Hope. The food is good, and that’s very important. I sleep well and dream a lot,” she says.

She continues to have regular visits with her family through her iPad, and when it’s safe, enjoys afternoon outings to the mall with her daughter. Maria appreciates the family time that usually comes with Christmas and reminisces fondly about her childhood celebrations of St. Nicholas Day on December 6.

Maria sitting on a comfy chair working on a sudoku puzzle
Maria Deryk works on a sudoku puzzle in her room at Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care.

Throughout the Christmas season, St. Joseph’s care-giving sites will shine pink symbolizing the community’s support for residents like Maria in our care at Christmas. For 31 years, Season of Celebration has brought comfort and joy to patients and residents during Christmas. This year, your gift to Season of Celebration will be used to replace more than 80 specialty mattresses and bed frames throughout our care-giving sites. It will ensure residents like Maria get a good night’s rest so that they are ready to make the most of their daily activities.
 
You too can brighten a life this Christmas with a gift to Season of Celebration. specialty mattresses provide restorative sleep, tackle insomnia, reduce pressure wounds, and more. They are a critical care and comfort resource that truly benefits the patients and residents we serve.

Donate today and support residents like Maria with a gift to Season of Celebration.

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