Every Day is a Gift

Your last gift to Bruyère helped to give me my life back. Thank you! Your next gift will light the way for someone else.

As you read this letter, I encourage you to renew your support of Bruyère. At the same time, please sign and return the enclosed holiday card and light the halls during the holiday season. It was a dark June night. The Royal Canadian Navy destroyer, HMCS Algonquin, was 150 miles off the coast of California. I was the Commanding Officer and getting ready for a two month deployment. I didn’t know it yet but my life was about to change...forever. Read the entire Tim Kerr story below.  


One minute I was running on a treadmill in the ship’s gymnasium. The next thing I remember is waking up in the US Navy Hospital in San Diego. I had suffered a brain hemorrhage and a serious stroke, which left me unable to use my left arm or leg, or even sit up straight! I was 43 years old. Even though my crew made life-saving decisions I still faced a very long road to recovery. I began the fight to regain some of my previous life.

My journey brought me to Élisabeth Bruyère Hospital, a world-class facility where the best people focus on getting their patients up, out and back to a regular life. Renewing your support with a special year end gift will ensure Bruyère remains ready for others, just like it was for me.

I spent a year at Bruyère as both a patient in the Stroke Rehabilitation Unit and as an outpatient receiving continued rehabilitation services. It was a very hard year, filled with setbacks, tears, hard work and eventually...triumph, thanks to you and all of the professionals at Bruyère.

I owe so much to Bruyère – to the nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, volunteers and so many more. They all worked with me and for me to enable me to walk and to live my life again. Both my family and I can never thank them or you, enough.

Bruyère is a team. You and every donor are part of the team. You are life changers!

People say I am lucky to have survived. They say I am lucky to have recovered so well. If you met me today, you would never know I had suffered a massive stroke. Let me assure you, luck had nothing to do with my recovery. It wasn’t luck that I survived a stroke so far from the nearest shore and critical care unit. It was the skill and training of my crew. It wasn’t luck that enabled me to recover and return to my family and my life, it was the skill and motivation of the professionals at Bruyère. It was due to the fact that Bruyère exists – as an institution and as a community. Bruyère is prepared.

They are prepared for people who require the best in palliative care. They are prepared for the eighteen year old car accident victim who is bent and broken. They are prepared for the husband showing early signs of dementia. They are there for the grandmother who, after hip surgery, is eager to get back home.

This is what Bruyère is about; getting people home. As you prepare for the upcoming holidays, I’d like you to set aside some time to think about Bruyère and all the people you will help. Across all Bruyère sites including Saint-Vincent Hospital, Élisabeth Bruyère Hospital, Bruyère Village and Saint-Louis Residence, people are separated from loved ones. Bruyère does it’s best to make them feel at home.

At Saint-Vincent there are ventilator patients on the fifth floor who are visited daily by volunteers and family, giving them that much needed human connection to the outside world.

In Orléans, at Bruyère’s Saint-Louis Residence, seniors live in a warm, welcoming community setting, with dignity and grace. During the holidays, this is so important.Close to my heart is Élisabeth Bruyère Hospital, where I lived for three months. Stroke patients like me are getting the care and rehabilitation they need.

Upstairs, entire families spend quality time with their loved ones in the best palliative care unit in the region. Down the hall, people of all ages visit the Bruyère Memory Program, getting treatment from a strong team of physicians, nurses and researchers. This goes on, day after day and that’s why your support is so critical. You may not be able to help everyone, but together, every day we can help someone. This is where your gift comes in.


Your gift is real. The person you help is real. The results are real. I’m living proof.


My journey from stroke victim, to patient, back to husband, father and son and now Bruyère volunteer, was taken one step at a time. When you support Bruyère, you help entire families. I hope you take the next step and send your gift today. As a Bruyère donor you are part of a growing number of people who recognize the value of having this hospital in our region.

Please renew your support before the holiday season and when you do make sure to sign the enclosed holiday card. We will place it in Bruyère for all to see.


Thank you for reading my story and thank you for changing my life.
Sincerely yours,

Tim Kerr

P.S. Lives change in an instant. The older I get, the more I know this to be true. Please don’t wait to send your support to Bruyère. They need us now and, if – and when – we need them, they’ll be there for us. Thank you.