Volunteers, Auxiliaries and Foundations


Volunteers make up an important part of the many faces of the MUHC. With almost 2,000 volunteers currently devoting their time in our six hospitals, they continue a proud tradition that has persisted for generations.

Whether it is the retired veterinarian and her golden retriever giving patients a boost at the Montreal General, or the student at the Royal Victoria spending his summer break playing cards with geriatric patients, or the employee at The Children’s who spends time sharing his expertise, our volunteers are special and valued. Just more proof that, at the MUHC, our strength is our people. 

At the Royal Victoria Hospital, The Neuro and the Montreal Chest Institute over 700 volunteers, of all ages and from all walks of life, give their time to over 40 different programs. One such program is “STEP” – the Student Training and Education Program – a three-part program for students that has been generously supported by Pfizer Canada for the past eight years. During the summer months, students come to volunteer, attend life skills workshops and exploration sessions given by MUHC healthcare professionals. Many STEP students go on to choose careers in the healthcare. 

Lachine Campus' 80 volunteers generously help in many ways. On a day-to-day basis, volunteers deliver special meals and make friendly visits to patient rooms as well as greet arrivals in the Emergency Department and the blood taking centre. Lachine Campus volunteers also help out with a wide variety of creative activities like crafts, painting, gardening and running a small café called "La Cafetière" everyday of the week. They also help organize recreational activities such as bingo, bowling and scrabble and outings to the horse races and to shows at the Casino.

The Montreal General Hospital Volunteer Service counts on approximately 925 volunteers who dedicate their time to various programs. The updated Pet Therapy Program is managed by a retired veterinarian who brings five dogs to visit patients. The Montreal General Hospital Volunteer Service also has a growing Patient Visiting Program that schedules visits with patients three times a day. In 2010-11, 20 pre-med students from l’Université de Montreal (UdeM) spent 90 hours visiting with patients. It has now become a course offered for credits at U de M, with the objective of teaching students what it is like to being a patient.

At The Montreal Children’s Hospital, 250 volunteers help maintain the regular volunteer services to patients and families. In 2010-11, The Children’s increased the number of volunteers at the ED entrance and, in collaboration with Child Life Services, introduced volunteers to the new Surgical Day Centre to help children and families manage the stress related to the pre- and post- operative process. In return, thanks to a grant from The Children’s Auxiliary Foundation, The Montreal Children’s Hospital was able to offer its volunteers two skill-building sessions on active listening. In addition, volunteers were given an opportunity to learn about the integration of children with special needs within a “regular” classroom, thanks to a new program made possible by the collaboration of The Children’s employee daycare centre.

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The generous support of our donors makes it possible for us to offer more and better services to our patients and helps to keep the MUHC at the forefront of medical knowledge and expertise. Their support makes a critical difference.

During 2010-2011, The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) Foundation’s The Best Care for Life campaign reached the $230 million mark of its $300 million target. The MUHC Foundation, in partnership with the Fondation du CHUM, received significant donations from The National Bank of Canada, Power Corporation of Canada, RBC Financial Group, Bell Canada and CIBC. Other generous donations supported various projects and research fellowships: the Marjorie and Gerald Bronfman Foundation supported renovations in Gastroenterology; the Larry and Cookie Rossy Family Foundation supported the purchase of a Da Vinci SI Robotic Surgical System to enhance minimally invasive surgery; and liver transplant and geriatrics continue to receive support from the late Ernest Avrith and Mary Zilinskas Wallis.

In 2010-2011, The Cedars Cancer Institute, through activities such as the CIBC 401 Bike Challenge, the Ride with Lance, the Cedars CanSupport Fuller Landau Dragon Boat Race & Festival and the Raffle and Abracadabra Auction, was able to purchase state-of-the art diagnostic equipment, improve facilities for the treatment and care of cancer patients, and also provide emotional, practical, psychosocial and financial support to cancer patients and their families. Highlights of financial contributions include: Da Vinci SI Robotic Surgical System; MUHC Psychosocial Oncology Program; MUHC/Cedars Oncology E-Education modules; Royal Victoria Hospital Oncology Day Centre renovations; equipment for Esophageal cancer treatment at the Montreal General Hospital; state-of-the-art chemotherapy chairs for cancer patients; Six Henry R. Shibata Cedars Research Fellowships, including the Kate McGarrigle Fellowship in Sarcoma research and an ocular pathology fellowship.

The Montreal General Hospital Foundation is pleased to report another record year of fundraising, attaining $15 million in donations and a total income of more than $22 million. In addition to providing major support for research, presenting over 80 Research Awards to leading medical and nursing clinical/researchers, The Montreal General Hospital Foundation provided more than $13 million towards equipment purchases and innovative projects touching all medical disciplines, including major support for the completion of the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.

Thanks to the support of many generous and caring individuals, community groups, foundations and corporations, The Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation continued to further its mission of supporting The Children’s most urgent needs and its quest to find cures and save lives. In addition to funding state-of-the-art medical equipment, leading edge research and innovative, family centred programs, the Foundation is entering the final stretch of the $100 million Best Care for Children Campaign to build the new Children's at the Glen.

During 2010-2011, The Lachine Hospital Foundation's Best Care for Life fundraising campaign reached the $2.1 million mark of its $3 million target. Fundraising activities during this period included the annual Wine & Cheese event which was a resounding success and raised $60,000. The Foundation's ongoing support of the hospital's expansion and modernization plan was exemplified this year by the purchase of a state-of-the-art microscope – a specialized tool used by the urology, plastic surgery and otolaryngology departments.

During the past year, The Montreal Chest Institute Foundation funded new food carts, eccentric cycle ergometers for COPD patients, completed bathroom renovations, purchased mobile digital monitoring equipment, allocated funds to the recreation department, and continued to support the successful Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS) program for the rapid diagnosis and staging of lung cancer.

In 2010-2011, The Royal Victoria Hospital Foundation gifted $9.4 million to the McGill University Health Centre in support of projects and equipment spanning a variety of medical disciplines and interests, from Cardiology to Maternal Fetal Medicine and Geriatrics.

Under the volunteer leadership of Jacques Bougie and Dominic D’Alessandro, The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital’s Thinking Ahead Campaign is well on its way to surpassing its $40 million goal. The Neuro is grateful to be the recipient of generous gifts in support of cutting-edge clinical care and innovative research programs including gifts to establish fellowships in neuromuscular disease and ALS research, equipment for rehabilitation therapy, an innovative brain tumour research initiative, as well as nursing education.

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Thanks to a series of successful fundraising activities in 2010-2011, The Montreal Children’s Hospital Auxiliary was able to continue to improve the environment for young patients and their families through funding of Resource Guides, health information tools and educational toys and books.

The Auxiliary was also able to provide funding for the purchase of an ‘OPKO’ machine for Pediatric Ophthalmology – a state-of-the-art piece of equipment that helps helps with the diagnosis and tracking of changes in the most complex retinal diseases. In addition, the Auxiliary funded research bursaries for the work of two resident students in Africa, as well as the literacy and “Adolescent Diabetes Education” programs.

Various fundraising initiatives allowed The Royal Victoria Hospital Auxiliary to purchase important equipment such as incubators for the Neonatal Unit, operating room tables for the Surgical Suites, and to decorate wards and family visiting areas. They were also able to provide financing for the Geriatric Activity Program. The Royal Victoria Hospital Auxiliary also gave grants for the RVH Social Service Department and the Department of Nursing.

In 2010-11 The Montreal General Hospital Auxiliary continued to raise money for various causes through their Hospitality Corner Gift Shop & Snack Bar, the Cedar Lobby and Pine Avenue Cafés, and their catering service. For example, tip money from all three restaurants was given to the Research Institute of the MUHC. The Auxiliary also organized many events including the Fourth Annual Talent Show and the Early Bird Gourmet & Vernissage. Funds raised went towards hospital and community grants, the purchase of designated equipment for patient care, and to improve hospital life all around.

The Volunteer Auxiliary of the Lachine Campus was established in January 1948. Their role at the time was mainly to provide comfort and a few items of basic need for the poor. Over the years their role has expanded to include fundraising for the purchase of equipment and organizing activities to entertain the patients during their hospital stay. Today, the Auxiliary provides a number of services to patients and visitors, such as a coffee shop called " La cafetière", a pastoral team to provide spiritual care, a welcome service in the Emergency Department to help receive and refer patients, and a special commemorative ceremony for families and friends of patients who passed away during the year. The Auxiliary also provides important support to the Lachine Foundation and its fundraising initiatives.

At the Montreal Neurological Hospital and Institute, The Friends of The Neuro support activities and purchase equipment that have a direct impact on patients and their families. The Friends of The Neuro continue to support the day-to-day operations of The Neuro Patient Resource Centre and they ensure that the Hospital's mini-store program on wheels provides patients with products they may need while in hospital. This year, The Friends of the Neuro purchased equipment and items to improve patient comfort for the nursing units and the operating room, and the departments of Physiotherapy, Speech Pathology, Occupational Therapy, Neuroanesthesia, and Neuronavigation. They also supported neuroscience nursing, providing bursaries and funds for professional development for an occupational therapist.

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