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A Grateful Patient Gives Back to Mount Sinai Hospital

Mount Sinai’s Grateful Hearts program is marking its second year and has raised significant funds for the Hospital, all in the name of saying thanks.

The Grateful Hearts program at Mount Sinai Hospital is a meaningful way to say thank you. The fundraising and staff recognition program ― set to mark its two-year anniversary on February 14 ―  provides an opportunity for patients to pay tribute to someone at the Hospital who made a significant difference in their care ― someone who went well beyond what was expected.

It is a special program for many reasons: because it was started by a very grateful and generous Mount Sinai patient ― Charlene Girt; and because since its inception the program has spread warm feelings of gratitude and appreciation throughout the Hospital, both from patients wanting to say thank you, and from the caregivers or staff members who receive the honour.

Charlene was referred to Dr. Robin McLeod ― the Head of the Division of General Surgery at Mount Sinai ― the day after she was diagnosed with cancer. “In that moment, I knew I’d hit the jackpot,” says Charlene. “Dr. McLeod has been with me every step of the way. She was there when I went into surgery and when I woke up. She is an amazing surgeon.”

After receiving such meaningful care, Charlene knew she needed to do something significant to recognize Dr. McLeod’s skill and compassion. “I knew there were so many patients and families at Mount Sinai that had been as touched by their care as I was,” recalls Charlene. “The Hospital needed a staff recognition program and I was very happy to help the Foundation create Grateful Hearts. My only condition was that I wanted to be the very first donor!”

And that she was. Charlene honoured Dr. McLeod with the first-ever Grateful Hearts donation. Like all Grateful Hearts recipients, Dr. McLeod received a lovely two-toned blue heart pin and a heartfelt thank-you note. Charlene’s enthusiasm caught on like wildfire and, two years later, the program has raised over $140,000 with over 330 patients – some even from as far as Australia - using the opportunity to say a special thank you. Grateful Hearts

This Valentine’s Day we will be celebrating the anniversary of this wonderful program, and honouring all those who ― through love and tender care ― have helped it grow into all that it is today.

What others are saying about Grateful Hearts…

"I can't imagine going through such a difficult time anywhere other than Mount Sinai. The care they provided for Blake was extraordinary - they literally saved his life over and over. They are true heroes, and we will be saying thank you to them for the rest of our lives." - Michelle Goldman, mother of twins Avery and Blake. Avery sadly passed away at birth and Blake spent six months in Mount Sinai's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

"Drs. Alan Gross and David Backstein and my entire care team were absolutely amazing. Aside from being visited regularly, I was totally informed of my progress throughout the difficult revision, and my wife, Bonnie, was kept abreast of everything, making the experience less frightening for us both. Your care and compassion were so greatly appreciated. We thank you all for making patients at Mount Sinai far more than an OHIP number." – Peter and Bonnie Levy

"Thank you for the care you showed to our mother while she was at the Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care at Mount Sinai. Two years later, we still remember your kindness and the valuable work you perform each day." – Alan W.

“Receiving a Grateful Heart donation means more than I think many patients realize. I never forget that our work significantly impacts people’s lives, and that everything we do, every word we say, can be the difference in patients and families feeling confident in the care we provide. To be recognized for doing that in a way that is meaningful to someone means pretty much everything to me.” - Dr. Elyse Levinsky, Obstetrician and Gynecologist at Mount Sinai