The Tod family grew up around the hospital, and the hospital grew up around them.
When Charles and Maureen Tod moved to Ottawa in 1963 with their young daughters, Cynthia and Melanie, they chose a house that was close enough for Charles to walk downtown to work. It took him 43 minutes. Their house on Kenilworth was only blocks from the former Civic Hospital.
Maureen Tod still only lives blocks from the hospital in the Duke of Devonshire Retirement Residence on Carling Avenue. She and Charles moved there in 2009 when Charles started suffering with Alzheimer’s. They celebrated their 60th anniversary there, before he passed away.
Maureen sits beside Melanie on the couch in her room, comparing notes. They agree they were fortunate not to have needed ongoing care for serious illnesses, such as diabetes or cancer. However, Maureen said with two young daughters they “consumed the hospital over the years for minor things,” including tonsillitis, appendicitis, concussions, sprains and stitches.
“It seemed like every time I fell out of a tree, I went. You’d take me to The Ottawa Hospital when the Emergency was in the back,” Melanie reminds her mom. “When I was about 12, I used to go into the tunnels and race the gurney’s.”
The hospital was a presence in their lives. Their family doctor had an office in the Melrose clinic at the Civic Campus. Maureen volunteered there, and was the candy purchaser at the gift shop. She said they’d sell $500 worth of candy a week. Charles got his hearing aids adjusted at the hospital’s Parkdale Clinic. Melanie had investigative and repair surgeries over the years, and her husband was treated in ICU for complications after gall bladder surgery in Brockville. Every member of the family has benefited from the phenomenal care The Ottawa Hospital provides. In the last few years, 89-year-old Maureen has visited the hospital because of falls, likely as result of the mini strokes identified at the hospital.
“Lots of your friends counted on The Ottawa Hospital,” Melanie said to Maureen. “When your friend’s spouses had cancer treatments, they’d drop them off and come in for tea. You’ve had a lifetime of support at the hospital.”
Both Melanie and Maureen are hospital donors. Maureen is planning to leave a legacy gift to The Ottawa Hospital. She said, “It will be helpful to people to have the care available. And at almost 90, I haven’t needed a lot of care, but when I did, I got great care, and I’m still doing well. I want to pass that on.”
The Ottawa Hospital is grateful for the Tod’s generosity. Their future gift will give patients in their neighbourhood, and across the region, the best health care for generations to come.