Sisters’ dream achieved

These sisters in solidarity have reached the summit of their mountain.

It was a figurative mountain they began climbing last September. Mary Ellen Hughson and Rebecca Hollingsworth set a lofty goal to raise the final $250,000 needed to bring a start-of-the-art piece of equipment to The Ottawa Hospital’s new Breast Health Centre.

This latest challenge was no match to what they had already tackled nearly one year earlier, a diagnosis of breast cancer. The two sisters were diagnosed with the same form of breast cancer in the same week, in November 2016. Like many, they were thrust into the health care system at a time when they least expected it. When they researched to find out where to go for the best possible care for invasive ductal carcinoma, they quickly learned they had to look no farther than The Ottawa Hospital. Once their treatment was completed, they decided to give back.

Thanks to the generosity of the community and one extremely generous donor, their campaign has exceeded their own expectations and has raised $370 000 to date. This means The Ottawa Hospital now has the donations needed to purchase a dedicated MRI for the Breast Health Centre.

“We are overwhelmed by incredible support from our wonderful community,” said Mary Ellen.

It was the generous donation from Suzanne Halpenny, who really made it happen.

“Although, she didn’t know us, Suzanne read our story, followed our journey and knew she wanted to join us in our quest to bring this amazing technology to Ottawa. We are incredibly grateful to this amazing woman and her $250,000 donation to this campaign,” said Rebecca.

For Suzanne, it was powerful story that she just couldn’t ignore.

“While reading Mary Ellen and Rebecca’s story, it hit me like a bolt of lightning. I just knew I was going to do this and it was just something I felt was so right,” recalled Suzanne.

Suzanne has to look no further than her own family as a great reason to support this vital technology for The Ottawa Hospital’s Breast Health Centre.

“No one in my family has been diagnosed with breast cancer. However, I have three daughters and six granddaughters and anything that is done to help them and other women in the future is of interest to me. I know it’s going to be well used and I admire Rebecca and Mary Ellen. It’s a wonderful feeling to be involved in this movement,” acknowledged Suzanne.

Given the outpouring of support from the community, these two sisters have decided to continue to fundraise and they plan on donating all funds over and above the $250,000 towards the purchase of an ultrasound machine; another much needed piece of technology to keep Ottawa at the forefront of breast health.

“We believed we could and with your help, we did!  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to Suzanne and all of you who believed in this campaign, and in us. It’s been individuals, small businesses, professionals and our school community responding so generously. Together, we are all truly making a difference for our city,” said Rebecca

The Ottawa Hospital will be the only breast health centre in Canada to have this state-of-the art breast imaging technology that will help “future sisters in spirit” like Rebecca and Mary Ellen.

Join the sisters’ movement today