Bruyère’s two-year campaign to unite and enhance palliative and complex care turned vision into reality this summer, with the opening of the new Shenkman Palliative Care Unit.
Daniel Fernandes, Bruyère Foundation’s volunteer Chair, was one of the key contributors to the planning and fundraising of the campaign. He’s been at the helm of the Foundation’s board for just over 7 years while also sitting on the boards for Bruyère and its Research Institute, among many other sub committees. This is all work he does in addition to running his own law practice, a Preston Street office specializing in Commercial Real Estate and Development, that he established over 22 years ago.
With over 1000 beds across four campuses in Ottawa, specializing in aging, rehabilitation, and care for those with complex medical conditions, Fernandes knows that Bruyère’s purpose in the community is worth that kind of time commitment. “Over the last few years, our society’s collective conscience has been reminded of the urgent responsibility we have to take care of our elderly, frail and vulnerable citizens–our family, friends and neighbours.” The passionate and focused lawyer assures. “My fellow volunteer board members and I give our time and money to Bruyère because we recognize the significance of this organization; that at some point in all of our lives, we or someone we love will need the important services offered at Bruyère.”
It was just over two years ago that Bruyère’s Chief of Staff presented a case for co-locating the organization’s palliative and complex care programs. “He said it was the single most important thing that we can do for patient care at Bruyère,” Fernandes remembers. Fortunately for Bruyère, Fernandes agreed to extend his term as Chair, and worked with the Foundation’s Board and staff to create and launch the Celebrating Life at Every Stage initiative, a $6M fundraising campaign aimed at uniting and enhancing palliative and complex care by building a new, combined care unit.
For two years, the Foundation worked to build a community of support around the fundraising goal and Bruyère’s new vision of care. “It’s truly been an interesting combination of our general population, grateful patients and their loved ones, and community leaders coming together to get us to this point.” Fernandes recounts. One donor in particular made this important project possible with a generous lead donation to the initiative – William Shenkman.
“The Shenkman name is synonymous with philanthropy in this city, and Bruyère is fortunate to have been the beneficiary of many gifts from Bill and his wife Maureen over the years.” Fernandes–who also made a very generous contribution to the campaign along with his wife, Sandra Guttmann–explains. The palliative care unit at the Élisabeth Bruyère campus also had the Shenkman name attached to it, thanks to Bill’s lead gift to the campaign to upgrade the unit nearly 18 years ago.
On June 26th of this year, Bruyère welcomed its first patients and their families into the new Shenkman Palliative Care Unit, a truly full-circle moment for the Board, its fundraising team, and its donors. “As I looked around the unit, it was clear to me that an enormous amount of thought went into the project and its design. Our staff, patients and their families were consulted in every detail,” commented Fernandes.
With the generous support of the Ottawa community, $5.8 million of the $6 million dollars has been donated to ensure that Bruyère’s patients will now have the benefit of receiving the best in palliative and complex care from one campus. The Bruyère Foundation Board, under the leadership of Daniel Fernandes, will continue to reach out to the community to secure the remaining $200,000 to complete the campaign.
Other members of the Campaign Cabinet include Campaign chair Brad Ezard, Scott Brooker, Guy Chartrand, Joanne Kudakiewicz and Nik Lemieux. “We are grateful for their support. And we’d like to thank everyone who contributed and played a part in making this new unit a reality, helping our patients and their families Celebrate Life at Every Stage.”
“Bruyère is continuing to look ahead to ensure it can contribute to serve the community,” foretells Fernandes. “With a proven history of addressing health care gaps, I know Bruyere’s leadership will continue to ensure it is evolving to meet the care needs of our community.”