On her 75th birthday, Helga McPherson filled the Norwood Hotel dancefloor with friends, family, strangers, and glow sticks. A photo on her mantle immortalizes the night: Tanja, her daughter, has her arm thrown around Helga’s shoulders, both smiling wide, with glow stick halos in their hair.
But not every special occasion was this celebratory. Nearing midnight on New Year’s Eve, 1999, Helga lay in a hospital bed, recovering from a sudden stroke. Entering the new millennia, Helga says this moment changed her life, igniting a passion for prevention and health care.
“If you look around, in every family there’s cancer. There are heart attacks. It doesn’t have to get to this point, says Helga. “We all need hospitals. We all need to ensure we have a place to go and that those places get bigger, more advanced, with more machines. Helga believes this can help people detect diseases and get treatment sooner, or prevent problems from happening in the first place. “And that requires donations. Because I know it’s not cheap.
Helga is already a monthly donor to the HSC Foundation, showing her commitment to our community and her compassion for others. And now, Helga has thoughtfully and generously left the Foundation a gift in her Will. Her extraordinary kindness will help improve what HSC can do for patients.
Despite her warmth, great sense of humour, and positive attitude, Helga has not had it easy. After a difficult childhood in Germany during World War II, Helga decided as a teenager to become the kind of person she needed when she was younger. “I’m always looking out for people not so well off. But I always can do more, she says, rubbing her palms against her eyes. “I was always a giver. I remember, even as a child, everything I had was always shared.
Helga never had the chance to meet her father, a fallen solider whose body has yet to be found, but believes her compassion and kindness comes from him. “The way I see myself now was the way other people say they saw him: his gentle nature, his looking out for other people.
“I’m still here, Helga adds. “Maybe I have a purpose to still do good things.”
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Leaving a legacy gift, like Helga did, is one of the most valuable ways you can help the HSC Foundation support the 7,000 men and women who provide health care at HSC well into the future. Learn more about legacy giving here.