A Letter from Henry Burris

Bruyère's Life Changing Ambassador

Henry Burris posing with a patient of the day hospital in the physiotherapy gymMy name is Henry Burris. You may know me from Ottawa’s CTV Morning Live. As you may have heard, I recently joined Bruyère as their newest Ambassador. It’s a real privilege for me. The more I learn about Bruyère, the more I want to help. As a supporter of Bruyère, I know you feel the same way. I truly want to thank you for your ongoing support of Bruyère, and the patients and families it serves. The gifts you have made in the past are invaluable to the specialized services provided at Bruyère Continuing Care. 

I was recently humbled to learn that Bruyère is the second largest health care provider in the region, next to the Ottawa Hospital, and the largest of its kind in Canada but without the extensive recognition and support. It is my hope and my wish, that through individuals like you, we will help Bruyère to be better understood, better recognized and better appreciated, for the services that it provides for so many in our region and beyond.

As a former quarterback, I have experienced many highs and lows in my career. My team, both on and off the field, made the difference for me in so many ways. The great teammates around me, along with the best coaches, equipment and technology, made me successful; every win was attributed to them. This is something Bruyère understands, we make the greatest impact as a team, supported by state of the art tools, in the most modern environment. That’s what your support of Bruyère will help us to achieve. We want to ensure the best team and facilities are in place, for you and your loved ones, when you need Bruyère.

I encourage you to join me in celebrating Bruyère’s 14th Bruyère Day, taking place on Thursday, May 24th, 2018. We hope you will tune-in to 580 CFRA and CTV Ottawa to hear more about how people like you are helping us to help so many. The nurses, doctors, volunteers and other members of the Bruyère team, give us so much. The biggest gift they give us, our loved ones, our friends and neighbours, is time; time to recover, time to get our health back and time to do all the wonderful things we took for granted before experiencing a health crisis. The other hospitals in the region save your life, Bruyère gives you back your quality of life, helping you to recover, and move forward with your loved ones.

Professional photograph of Henry in a suitWhen you live in Ottawa, two things are certain. You grow very thankful for living in such a wonderful and giving community and, at some point, you will benefit from the services of Bruyère. Bruyère is here for all of us! We need to be there for Bruyère. Through your generosity, miracles happen every day throughout all the different units and programs at Bruyère. They happen in stoke rehabilitation; they happen at the Bruyère Research Institute; they happen at the Bruyère Village in Orleans and at our Saint-Vincent Hospital campus. These miracles happen because of you!

I had the pleasure to meet a wonderful man named Heinz who had recently completed a 10-week outpatient rehabilitation program with Bruyère. At 86 years old, Heinz is full of life and vitality! He credits Bruyère with having given him his life back. I am so honoured to meet and to get to know the wonderful people who Bruyère has helped, like Heinz.

The kindness and compassionate care of Bruyère has been emanating in our community for the past 173 years. Not many of us know the story of the remarkable young woman, named Élisabeth Bruyère. Recently, on April 14th, the Vatican announced that Mother Élisabeth Bruyère has moved one step closer to Sainthood. She, along with eight others from around the world, has been declared a Venerable Servant of God by Pope Francis.
Against all odds, Élisabeth Bruyère, just 26 years old, arrived in Ottawa on a cold February day in 1845. A woman in a man’s world, she set out to build Ottawa’s first hospital, first school and first orphanage and she did!

Henry pointing to the Life Changing campaign banner in the atrium at Saint-Vincent HospitalWhen we kick off Bruyère Day on May 24th with Bell Media, we will celebrate all of her astonishing feats. To this day, we continue her journey, ensuring Mother Bruyère’s kind, compassionate care continues to flourish for generations to come. Thank you for helping to ensure that her legacy is kept burning brightly.

As I write this letter to you, spring is beginning to peak through what has been one of Ottawa’s coldest and longest winters. These cold days will soon fade from our memory, as we look forward to enjoying warmer days with our family and friends.

I love spring; it is such a great time for renewal. Canada comes to life in spring!

As you may know, my family and I have lived in many cities across this great country. To us, Ottawa is one of a kind. My family is so happy to call this great city home. This spring, I look forward to enjoying more time with my family, since I have moved on from my football career. My wife Nicole has many plans for me, “my honey do list” is quite long. I owe her so much; she is the rock in our family, for me and our two boys. Our family looks forward to making many memories, this summer, including spending time together, doing our part to help others in our region and at Bruyère.

The late Leonard Nimoy said, “The miracle is this: the more we share the more we have”. He was right! Whenever Nicole and I, and our family, give of ourselves in time or in resources, we always get back so much more. It is an undisputable law of the Universe.

The nurses, physicians, staff and volunteers at Bruyère give their hearts to their patients and families. They love their work because everything they do comes back to them. Bruyère Day gives our community the chance to give back.

Giving really does open the door for receiving. Thank you for taking the time to read this letter; it comes from my heart to yours and it is an opportunity and request that I take very seriously. Thank you for your continued support of Bruyère!

Sincerely yours,

Henry Burris
CTV Morning Live Anchor
Champion Quarterback for the Ottawa RedBlacks