Leona Small was not in a good place. The young, Indigenous single mother was working three jobs just to make ends meet. And there was no clear path for a better life ahead. “I grew up in a small, remote community southwest of Grande Prairie,” says Small. “There was no power. No running water. I didn’t speak English until I was eight. So of course, being pulled from the bush and into the mainstream society was a culture shock to me.” Today, Small is a senior advisor of talent acquisition at Alberta Health Services and a leading advocate for training and education programs aimed at empowering Indigenous people across the province. How did she get from where she was to where she is?
I invite you to turn to page 6 in HERE magazine to read Leona’s story, and learn about the role that donors to the University Hospital Foundation (UHF) are playing to advance access to emergency medical care in Alberta’s Métis Settlements. But I can tell you now that taking a course to become an Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) played a critical role in giving her the confidence she needed to realize her full potential. Oh, and it also helped save her mother’s life. In this issue of HERE magazine, you will also read about the dramatic impact that our donors are having in transforming and redefining health at the University of Alberta Hospital (UAH) site.
On page 12, you will learn about steps taken to create a new, state-of-the-art simulation lab, or SIM lab, that in the words of Dr. Vince Grant, one of the leaders of the project, “will be one of the finest SIM labs in North America” — that would not be happening without the generous support of our donors. In, It Takes Heart (page 18), you will meet the charming and incredibly generous William and Mary Rachwalski and read how they have turned a lifetime of hard work into a gift that will impact thousands of western Canadians who receive care at the University of Alberta Hospital’s Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute (Maz).
Not enough? Then you will be happy to know there is more inside. Enjoy!