Growing up in a military family, Janet McKeage was always on the move. While the cities changed, her family’s open-door policy remained the same. Her parents were always ready to help others and give back, and to this day, she credits them for instilling that core value she and her husband now share with their four children. “My parents didn’t have a lot of money, but they taught me the importance of helping the people around you in any way that you can. Often, there were young military members who didn’t have family nearby, and they were always welcome at our dinner table — we’d often have many people joining us for a meal,” recalls Janet.
When she was in her early 20s, Janet lost her father to pancreatic cancer. He died several months after his diagnosis, but Janet vividly recalls the care and compassion he received from his team of specialists here at The Ottawa Hospital. Then, almost ten years ago, another devastating blow — Janet’s dear friend, Sindy, was also diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. “So that’s what brought me to support the hospital. I knew my dad had had great care. And I had a very dear friend that needed the same great care my dad received. Then, when I grew to learn more about the research side of the hospital, I was really blown away.”
“When I think about success for anyone in life, the most important thing is health — having a hospital in our city that is full of leading research, new discoveries, new treatments and having the best care that we can possibly have — it’s critical.”– Janet McKeage
Today, as Senior Investment Counsellor, RBC PH&N Investment Counsel, Janet feels very fortunate to have a career that has spanned 30 years with RBC. It aligns closely to her own philanthropic values by helping families with their own health and wealth investments. Janet is quick to point out how closely the two are intertwined and that’s what influences her own philanthropic leadership for The Ottawa Hospital. “When I think about success for anyone in life, the most important thing is health — having a hospital in our city that is full of leading research, new discoveries, new treatments, and having the best care that we can possibly have — it’s critical.”
“It’s not about being involved with an organization because it looks good on your resume. It’s about really caring and doing things that are meaningful.”– Janet McKeage
While supporting the hospital is one thing, Janet also took action. It started by running with Sindy’s #MEMC (Make Every Moment Count) Crew as a part of Run for a Reason. Next, she became a volunteer and then co-chair of our President’s Breakfast, then joined our Foundation’s board of directors, and in June 2022, became chair. “It’s not about being involved with an organization because it looks good on your resume. It’s about really caring and doing things that are meaningful. This role as chair of The Ottawa Hospital Foundation is a bit of a culmination of all the things that matter and allows me to bring some of my business background, my volunteering and dedication to something that I’m passionate about. I believe the hospital is critical and core to any successful community, to any family. Let’s face it, if people haven’t experienced the hospital to this point in their life, they certainly will one day, and I want to make sure that it’s the best for everyone.”
That’s why Janet is stepping forward for our GivingTuesday campaign on November 29, 2022, with a commitment to match each gift 3X up to $100,000.
Janet is more motivated than ever after recently learning Sindy’s cancer has returned. “It’s philanthropy that’s helped with the incredible care Sindy has received. It’s been almost 10 years since her initial diagnosis, and I’m grateful for every day. More research is needed to give people, like Sindy, hope for a better outcome,” explains Janet.
While Janet pushes forward to help build support for our hospital. She also keeps the powerful message of her dear friend close to heart — make every moment count.
Download episode 67 of Pulse Podcast to hear how Janet’s philanthropy roots run deep.