The Wainwrights

Very few people ever win the lottery... But the day my wife Janet and I got the call there was a spot for her at Bruyère’s Saint-Vincent Hospital, I knew we’d hit the jackpot.

Janet’s had a hard time of it – I’ve watched her experience illness after illness during our 47-year marriage. You can’t beat the odds in every instance, and her health has steadily deteriorated over the last few decades.

But today, I know she’s receiving the best possible medical care for her conditions. Because today, Janet lives as a resident of Ottawa’s only complex continuing care hospital: Saint-Vincent, one of three Bruyère sites.

Thanks to the generosity of donors, Bruyère offers unparalleled care for people in our community living with complex medical needs arising from illness or disability. People like my beloved wife.

Your gift will ensure Bruyère has the equipment and expertise required to attend to those with complex conditions and very specific care needs. You’ll be providing vital care for patients and their families People who would not be able to get the care they needed anywhere else.

I can’t put into words what a blessing it is to have Janet able to receive this kind of specialized care so close to home. Because of Bruyère’s service, I never have to miss an appointment. I am always able to be by her side when she needs me the most.

That’s a huge relief after years of bouncing from care provider to care provider.

Wainwright Family 

It was the early 2000s when Janet began to complain to me of chronic back pain. It was severe enough to interfere with her daily activities, and I winced seeing the constant hurt she experienced.

But she couldn’t find a doctor who took her concerns seriously. One would tell her it was caused by an issue with her neck, and then another would say it had something to do with her legs. She was brushed off or referred away, time and time again.

I was sick with worry, and then things escalated: Janet began to collapse at random. It was clear that something was very wrong.

I took her to a hospital where we discovered she had a large growth on her spine. Because it had been left unattended for so long, the growth was fused with her vertebrae. Janet had to have emergency surgery… And when she emerged from the procedure, she had been rendered paraplegic.


The healing process was long, intensive, and full of setbacks. Because of her inability to move much of her body, Janet developed a pressure ulcer, eventually contracting sepsis.

Treating the ulcer, left her with a significant wound – but there was a silver lining. Janet’s rehabilitation led her to Bruyère’s Saint-Vincent location, where she would spend more than a year being tended to by the very best doctors and plastic surgeons.

The care at Bruyère was fantastic, and Janet was eventually sent home. I would spend years working full time and trying to meet her care needs on my own in the evenings and overnight. I could feel myself being stretched thinner and thinner, as time went by. I slept only two or three hours a night.
It was our family doctor who talked some sense into us: “You need to have a plan,” she said. “What if something were to happen to you?”


She was right, of course. But the prospect of finding long-term care for Janet felt overwhelming and terrifying. You want your loved one to have the very best. To be in the very best place they can be.

Wainwright FamilyYou can imagine my immense relief when we got the call from Bruyère. I felt so much of my worry melt away when I heard there was a space for Janet in this incredible Saint-Vincent facility.


I’m so grateful for people like you, who understand the importance of this kind of care in our community. I truly believe that Bruyère is Ottawa’s best-kept secret! Few people are aware of Bruyère’s important role here in the Ottawa region.


Janet has now been living at Bruyère’s Saint-Vincent Hospital since 2014. These four years have shown me just how special Bruyère is. In fact, I’m so passionate about maintaining its tremendous quality of care that I now sit on the Board of Directors as a patient and family advocate.


We knew Bruyère was the right place for Janet, and each day that she’s here only reinforces how right we were to make this decision.


It’s remarkable to spend time in a hospital where each member of the staff so obviously cares about the work they are doing. They care about the patients and their families. They want to provide the right treatments in the right way at the right time. Their capacity for innovation and adaptation is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.


The people who come here would not be able to get the care they needed anywhere else. Their needs are too complex to remain at home or enter a typical long-term care facility. They need things that only Bruyère can offer.


I cannot imagine my life without Janet nearby, and I’m so thankful that people like you have made it possible for her to find such incredible care so close to home.


I’m sending you and yours my best wishes for a happy and healthy new year!


With thanks,

Alan Wainwright