Published: March 2024

Rupert receiving care at The Ottawa Hospital

Former Cognos executive Rupert Bonham-Carter’s life took an unexpected turn during a visit to Florida, when a fall resulted in a dislocated shoulder. After having his shoulder relocated at a Florida hospital far from home, Rupert cut his trip short and headed back to Ottawa — and to the Emergency Department at the Civic Campus where plans were made for shoulder surgery.  

But his second visit, just a few days later, took a much more urgent turn after his situation worsened. 

Arriving back at Emergency, Rupert recalls he was suddenly in distress and could hardly breathe.  A vigilant triage nurse got him on a gurney right away, and doctors found he had a massive pneumothorax (a collapse) in his right lung. For 12 days he remained under the care of the trauma team at the Civic, undergoing treatment that saved his lung as well as receiving shoulder surgery. 

Deep connection to The Ottawa Hospital

“I looked up and saw the Cognos logo. And in that moment, I felt like I had gone full circle.”

— Rupert Bonham-Carter

Rupert’s connection to The Ottawa Hospital runs deep, spanning more than two decades of life’s milestones and medical emergencies. “I’ve been there a lot in my life. I lost a finger in an accident, and The Ottawa Hospital was there to take care of me. My kids were both born there, and I had my gallbladder removed on an emergency basis. The Ottawa Hospital has been there for me for the last 25 years.” 

But on that day when he was admitted, Rupert experienced a profound sense of reassurance as he was being wheeled through the Emergency Department. 

“I looked up and saw the Cognos logo on a recognition plaque. And in that moment, I felt like I had gone full circle. I was part of the group at Cognos that had raised money for The Ottawa Hospital’s Legacy Campaign years ago. Seeing that logo, I felt comforted, and I was nostalgic about the Cognos community and the effort we’d made to support the hospital.” 

Inspired, once again, to give back

“The Ottawa Hospital is ours. It belongs to the community, and we have a responsibility as a community to care for it.”

— Rupert Bonham-Carter

Seeing the Cognos plaque highlighting the company’s past contribution not only gave Rupert comfort, but also inspired him to get personally involved in The Campaign to Create Tomorrow. “Throughout my most recent experience, it became clear to me that The Ottawa Hospital is ours. It belongs to the community, and we have a responsibility as a community to care for it.”   

With this sentiment in mind, Rupert decided to join the campaign cabinet, and he’s helping to inspire the community to support the largest fundraising campaign in Ottawa’s history. With a goal of $500 million, the Campaign to Create Tomorrow is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform healthcare by taking research to unprecedented heights and building the most technologically advanced research hospital in the country.  

Rupert recognized the potential of the campaign and became more motivated than ever to give back. “If I wasn’t sure before this experience, I was sure after. The Ottawa Hospital and the staff were there for me, and I knew I had to do something. So, I went to the first fundraising event, and I’ve made a donation. Now what I can do is try to motivate others to donate.” 

Rupert’s gift is in support of the Campaign to Create Tomorrow, which will help support the new hospital campus.