Leaving a Legacy for the Children of Tomorrow

Eileen smiles for a photo.

Eileen Akershoek of Welland wanted to say “thank you” in a meaningful way. She’d never forgotten how McMaster Children’s Hospital cared for her family.

“Two of my three girls inherited an extremely rare genetic blood disorder that I have,” explains Eileen. “Our blood has an unusually low platelet count, which means that we can bruise very easily and it can be dangerous if left unchecked.”

Inheriting the blood disorder

Eileen’s oldest daughter, Kaila, was admitted to McMaster Children’s Hospital a few weeks after she was born in 1996. Kaila underwent numerous blood tests and she stayed at the Hospital for three days before it was determined that it was safe for her to go home. Throughout her childhood, she was a regular visitor to the hematology unit.

When Eileen’s second daughter, Nadine, was diagnosed with the same blood disorder at birth, she began regular visits to the Hospital as well.

“Nadine was also born with a club foot and she underwent surgery at McMaster Children’s Hospital at the age of three to correct her ankle,” says Eileen. “When I had my third daughter, Marcie, it was decided that I should deliver at McMaster Children’s Hospital instead of the hospital in St. Catharines because it was a high-risk pregnancy.”

“This was my way of helping children and families who will need the services of McMaster Children’s Hospital in the future.”

The pregnancy went smoothly and baby Marcie did not inherit the blood disorder like her sisters.

“The care we received at the Hospital has been exceptional. I decided to become a monthly donor to McMaster Children’s Hospital Foundation as a way of expressing my gratitude.”

The Free Wills program

In addition to becoming a monthly donor, Eileen ultimately decided to become a legacy donor.

“I experienced a major life change when I became single a few years ago and I needed a new will,” she explains. “Coincidentally, I received a letter about the Free Wills program from Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation.”

Through The Foundation’s partnership with the Canadian Free Wills Network, the program connected Eileen to a participating lawyer in her area who helped her free of charge.

“It was perfect timing for me and the program made everything so easy.”

A gift to the future

Even though she wasn’t required to do so, Eileen left a legacy gift in her will to Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation in appreciation for the care her family has received.

“This was my way of helping children and families who will need the services of McMaster Children’s Hospital in the future. I can’t say enough positive things about the teams at the Hospital and I want to support the amazing work they do.”

To request a Free Wills Information Kit or to learn more about legacy giving, contact Carrie Gemmell at 905-575-6383 or gemmellc@hhsc.ca.