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Tim holding book
“It was such a lovely gesture,” says Tim Tripp, Library and Information Services Director at UHN, holding the book donated by Connie Wiseman. (Photo: UHN)

It was early April, COVID-19 cases were rising and society was closed to contain the spread of the virus, when Connie Wiseman received the sad news that a dear friend had passed away. Like many families grieving a loss during that time, she went through the hardship of not being able to attend the funeral and to support loved ones.

"I felt terrible that I couldn't be there for them," Connie says. "I believe for us, and all families going through losses during this time, it's been very difficult."

But Connie was determined to find a way to memorialize her friend, Mel Goodman, who had received a life-saving liver transplant at UHN's Soham & Shaila Ajmera Family Transplant Centre in 2012.

"It was such a gift to see a loved one being born again like that, and the eight years he had after the transplant and how that brought so much joy to his family," says Connie.

Not being able to become a "mega-donor," Connie decided to get creative. After discussing some options with her husband, John, they decided to donate a book to the hospital's library. It would be a nice gesture to memorialize her friend and to thank TeamUHN for the lease on life and all the support they provided to the patient and his family.

"I couldn't buy a hospital building, or a wing, or even a full library, but I could donate this book," Connie says. "And, if this book can be of help to a doctor, a nurse or a student, this will mean the world to me."

Connie and John Wiseman
Connie and John Wiseman chose a book that can be helpful to transplant professionals and students. (Photo: Courtesy Connie Wiseman)

Connie also says she is very thankful to all the people she's been in touch with at UHN who helped with her "little project," especially Library and Information Services Director, Tim Tripp, who guided her through the whole process. Tim suggested appropriate titles, connecting Connie to the publisher and also printing the book inscription, dedicating the donation to Mel.

"This was just such a lovely gesture from Connie and her husband to memorialize their friend," says Tim. "It really lifted my spirits." 

The book, "Critical Care for Potential Liver Transplant Recipients," will be available to UHN staff and visitors as soon as the Toronto General Health Sciences Library reopens. It has been closed due to the pandemic.

Connie says she is extremely happy to see her project come to fruition.

"I know it is a book, not a full library, but I'm hopeful that our small gift will be a valuable tool for liver transplant professionals and students," she says.

"I'm 72 years old, and I still believe books can truly be cherished and have an impact. I hope my gift can show how thankful we are, and I wish to say UHN is blessed to have such an amazing team taking care of their patients and loved ones." 

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