You never really know whose life you are impacting, or how. Just ask Martha Scott.
As a child, Martha spent a lot of time in and out hospital with childhood leukemia. Naturally, she remembers her oncologist, but over the past 30 years there is someone else Martha has often thought about – the “snack lady” who delivered snacks to her room every evening.
“It wasn’t because her snacks were delicious treats, no, what I remember most is that she always shared a snack with my twin sister,” says Martha, an occupational therapist with the Community Stroke Rehabilitation Team at Parkwood Institute. “I still carry that kindness in my heart, that memory of her – so many years later… I am forever touched by her kindness.”
Martha talked about the memorable snack lady during this year’s Sisters of St. Joseph Awards for Excellence ceremony, where she was one of four recipients being honoured. Touched by this recognition from peers, Martha reflected about the power to make a difference.
“People fighting for healing need light and love, positivity and hope..." - Martha Scott
“So I wonder who is remembering your efforts in this same way?” she told the audience. “It may be hidden away in their heart, but they carry a piece of your kindness, a piece of you, with them.”
Martha acknowledged her colleagues and various family members, including twin Monica Collins, also an occupational therapist at Parkwood Institute, for inspiring her professionally and personally. But she saved the most stirring tribute for her mom, whose optimism and smile carried her through her journey with leukemia.
“People fighting for healing need light and love, positivity and hope – your gift to me has shaped how I strive to practice with my own patients and how I see so many of St. Joseph’s staff shining for theirs,” she told her mom during the ceremony.
Marie Carroll’s mom was also in the audience. As the dietary aide from Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care went up to receive her Sisters of St. Joseph Award, her proud mom shouted “that’s my girl!”
“Being told you are appreciated for doing your job is one of the simplest yet most incredible things that you can hear,” said Marie. “I feel happy and grateful.”
For Corinne Wilson (pictured, right), a registered practical nurse with the mental health care Assessment Program at Parkwood Institute, receiving an award for a job she has loved for the past 39-years, “is truly a blessing.”
“It is easy to want to help these folks, to put a smile on their faces with a simple gesture,” explained Corinne of patients she says battle everyday with an illness many don’t understand, one that often elicits fear, stigma and a sense of hopelessness.
To see these individuals learn to cope and become comfortable enough to share a thought, memory or simply enjoy the interaction is a cherished privilege, adds Corinne.
“I could stand up here all day, or longer, and share amazing stories about some of the strongest people who have allowed me into their lives and their journeys through mental illness.”
Dr. Rookaya Mather, an ophthalmologist with the Ivey Eye Institute, said her award is shared with her team. Unable to attend the ceremony, her colleagues later held a special recognition event.
“I’m so honoured that I was even nominated and even more that I’m being recognized,” said Dr. Mather. “I feel that I’m receiving this honour on behalf of everybody. We all take really good care of patients and we don’t do anything alone. So I haven’t done it alone and I thank every single person in this room. We are all committed to patient-centred care and I am so grateful we work at St. Joseph’s.”
Sister Cecilia Dronzek, representing the Sisters of St. Joseph, also expressed gratitude – for the examples of compassion in every day encounters acted out by the four award recipients.
“It is evident that the values on which St. Joseph’s Health Care London was founded are alive and present to this day.”