“Let’s pay it forward,” Dave Weary told his daughter Kathleen Weary as she sat by his hospital bed after he suffered a potentially catastrophic fall last summer. Neither knew what the future held for Dave health-wise, but in that moment they committed to each making a gift to the Saskatoon Community Clinic Foundation.
Weeks earlier, after being referred to a surgeon by his Community Clinic doctor, Dave had received a new hip. He was recovering well and was about to resume his volunteer driving for the Cancer Society when he tripped at home and broke a femur, leading to more months of pain and rehabilitation. Through the ordeal, though, Dave was adamant about the two of them “giving something back to the Clinic now, while [he] was still around, to say thanks for all the excellent care.”
Kathleen agreed. She had recently retired from a career in Alberta and moved back to care for her father after her mom Shirley’s passing. “It was like night and day, coming to Saskatoon,” she says. “It took me years to find a family doctor in Alberta, but here I was welcomed into the Community Clinic and felt very supported dealing with my health and helping dad address his.” Both speak about “the caring and professional attitude at the Clinic, from the medical staff to the receptionists and beyond,” calling the Clinic’s team approach “absolutely exceptional.”
Dave worked as a purchasing agent while Shirley (who passed away in 2016) was principal of a high school for young offenders. Dave later started a small carpet cleaning business and he and Shirley managed to purchase a small apartment building, where Dave stayed busy making improvements. They moved to Saskatchewan in the mid 1990’s to be closer to family. Soon after arriving here, they met John and Betsy Bury, Clinic pioneers. As staunch supporters of medicare, they were attracted to the cooperative model of care and the vision of the Clinic and became members. Dave volunteered for 19 years driving patients for the Canadian Cancer Society. Shirley became the business manager of Gateway Theatre and both became board members for the Funeral Advisory and Memorial Society of Saskatchewan (FAMSS). Currently both Dave and his daughter are on the board of the FAMSS.
Beyond having enough to support the family, money was never a motivating factor. “How much is enough?” Dave asks. “We never had a lot but we worked hard and now have everything we need. We believe in Tommy Douglas’s manifesto. We want to give back.” Kathleen agrees. “Dad and I are both at the time in our lives when we are able to give back. We see value in the Saskatoon Community Clinic, but they have a need for new technology and equipment and items not funded out of operating grants. By paying it forward, we and other clients of the Clinic can be beneficiaries of improvements that our combined gifts make possible.”
Dave’s advice for others considering making a donation to the Saskatoon Community Clinic Foundation? “Always support a cause you believe in. It is not for fame and glory but for the ability to help the organization move forward. There is no cause more important for us than supporting cooperative health care in our community. I’m glad we could and we hope others follow.”
The Saskatoon Community Clinic Foundation Inc. is a registered charity and donations are tax-deductible.