Deb Jackson was a fixture around the finance and human resources departments at Hamilton Health Sciences for years. Not only did she dedicate her time to keeping their office space clean, she gave her friendship and support generously.
“She is a friend to so many in our departments,” says Ellen Prominski, who works in accounts receivable. “Every time there was a baby shower, or retirement gift or anything to contribute to, she gave happily.”
“When our team heard, we knew we had to do something for them. Deb has done so much for us over the years.”
In the fall, a change of health forced her to take a medical leave from her position, and she likely won’t be able to return. Just weeks later, she got more devastating news. Her 40-year old daughter Christine, who has special needs, was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer.
“Deb and Christine are really two peas in a pod.” Prominski says. “When our team heard, we knew we had to do something for them. Deb has done so much for us over the years.”
The finance and human resources departments put their heads together to dream up a way to create some special memories for the pair. They wanted to lighten the financial burden the family was facing, and help Christine accomplish some items from the “wish list” she’d created after her diagnosis.
It didn’t take long for word to travel between colleagues, and soon, donations and offers of help were pouring in. After only a few days, everyone was shocked at how much was given to this special cause. The hamper for Deb and Christine overflowed with groceries, personal care products, cleaning products, sugar free treats and on top of that, gift cards totalling over $1000.
“It was amazing to see everyone come together for Deb,” Prominski recalls. “So many different people—too many to name—went out of their way to make this happen. From rallying staff together, to picking up something to donate, to giving their time. It was incredible.”
“They are all angels to help myself and Chrissy.”
The troupe also planned a special day for their friend and her daughter, full of pampering and surprises. Two volunteers, Kelly Ann Scott and Judy Pham, gave their time to do Christine’s hair, makeup and nails. She loves being in the spotlight, so Prominski’s daughter arranged a photo shoot and put together a keepsake book for her and her mom. Because Christine loves Christmas so much and wasn’t able to see Santa at the mall this year, another volunteer dressed up so she could have one more visit with him.
“I am so thankful to everyone for their generosity and kindness,” Deb says, choking back tears as she recalls that day. “They are all angels to help myself and Chrissy.”
Deb says she so grateful for the financial relief that this gift has given them, but she’s even more grateful to have these special memories of her daughter, enjoying the things she loves. She and Christine hope that their story encourages women to learn more about breast cancer screening.