For Muriel Sutherland, seeing how the clinical advances she’s supported change people’s lives is the most meaningful part of her experience as a donor, former Board member, and current Honourary Director of the Health Sciences Centre Foundation. And now that she has named the HSC Foundation as a beneficiary in her Will, Muriel will be supporting such advances in a transformative way for years to come.
“If you don’t have your health, you don’t have much,” says Muriel. She believes the HSC Foundation makes a real difference for patients, stepping in to fund vital patient care and research initiatives that might not otherwise be supported.
“Great things can be achieved when we work together. Just look at the dedicated research space, the Gamma Knife, the Intraoperative MRI, the Varian Edge, the Centre for Surgical Innovation — on it goes. No one person could do all of that,” says Muriel. “But with the help of donors — large and small — we can achieve a great deal.”
By funding equipment purchases and facility upgrades, our donors play a major role in attracting exceptional talent to HSC Winnipeg. The HSC Foundation’s research grants, Muriel believes, are key to attracting “rock star” researchers and clinicians.
“Supporting emerging researchers helps them get started and build credibility early in their careers,” says Muriel. This support can help them attract funding from others and advance research that leads to better patient care.
“My hope is that we will always have a high degree of excellence in health care right here in Manitoba, so that when we need help, we can receive it here at home, with up-to-date equipment and knowledge.”
As a retired nurse, Muriel knows first-hand the difference that investing in health care can make. Through the HSC Foundation, she can help make important changes in health care by supporting the research efforts of nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, and other allied health workers. Muriel recalls a powerful moment during her time on the Board of Directors. Dr. Michael West, a neurosurgeon at HSC, was showing off HSC’s then-new donor-funded Gamma Knife to the Board.
A short time later, Muriel noticed a patient being wheeled through the halls, with the Gamma Knife halo mechanism in place. That moment gave her a “gut check”: an important reminder that real people benefit from the generosity of donors and the advances they support.
Muriel continues to support the HSC Foundation through the Honourary Directors Legacy Fund — an endowed fund meant to make powerful strides toward advancing research at HSC. Muriel donates regularly to this fund, and has now left a gift in her Will toward it. Through this legacy gift, she will continue making a difference long after she’s gone.
Muriel says she contributes to the fund to help support advances in health care through research. “My family and I have been fortunate with our health to date,” says Muriel. “But we all know that could change tomorrow. It would be so painful to have to live with an ‘if only.’ If only we had a cure. If only we could receive treatment here.”
Muriel says the HSC Foundation has engaged and talented Board Members and volunteers from all walks of life. “They have an appreciation of how hard it is to fundraise, and how important it is to be wise stewards of those funds,” says Muriel. She currently sits on the Board’s Finance Committee, where she sees firsthand that investment of the Foundation’s funds and financial decisions are made carefully, and with much forethought.