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Project Hope returned to Toronto General Hospital on December 24. The project was started in 1982 by community member Ann Ferron, whose father stayed in hospital during Christmas. The experience inspired Ferron to give a gift to patients on the unit where her father stayed. Her goal was to make the holidays a little brighter during a time when the last place anyone wants to be is in a hospital.
Over the past 13 years, Project Hope has grown to include about 350 inpatients throughout the entire hospital, and has even expanded to include other hospitals in the area. When Ferron moved to the U.S., her best friend Kristin Doan made sure Project Hope continued. This year's project was facilitated by Linda O'Leary, Nurse Manager, and Ivetka Vasil, Manager, Volunteer Resources, TGH & TWH.
"We wanted to find a way to transform grief to hope through giving," Doan says. "We visit each patient who has to spend Christmas in the hospital and give them a bear with a 'Project Hope' tag. It is a great gesture to show patients that people are thinking of them in the hospital over the holidays." This year's bears were donated by GANZ.