Leave your mark

It may have started with a birthday party to support the endangered manatees in Florida or to free captive dolphins in Mexico. Or perhaps it was when seven-year-old girls were asked to bring a donation instead of a present to a party. Or maybe it was the jewellery sale at the end of the cottage driveway. Funds raised went to a local hospital that had cared for a grandmother with cancer.

Diane Kaminski and Cal Kirkpatrick say their children Marley and Samantha have been a great inspiration for their own generosity. “We had a bit of an epiphany back when the girls suggested these ideas,” explains Diane. “We were teaching them to be philanthropists from a young age.”

Diane Kaminski and Cal Kirkpatrick with their daughters Marley and Samantha.

Cal also remembers when he was a kid and his mom used to go door-to-door canvassing for the Canadian Cancer Society. “My mom never had the means that we are privileged to have, but she was doing her small part.”

Diane and Cal have inspired each other too in supporting Queensway Carleton Hospital (QCH).   

Cal grew up just down the road from QCH and remembers when it opened. He spent time in the Emergency Department (ED) with various sports injuries in high school.  When he heard about fundraising efforts for QCH’s Acute Care of the Elderly (ACE) Unit, he was all in: “I’ve always thought older people were so wise and insightful yet somehow unappreciated, including when it comes to appropriate health care.  I wanted to help.”

Cal has served on the QCH Foundation Board for five years. He says learning about hospital funding has been an awakening, including the fact that donations are needed to purchase essential medical equipment. 

Once his Board term is over, Cal will continue to play a key volunteer role as a QCH Ambassador. He will rally his community to join him in supporting QCH. These conversations excite him. “I’m committed to giving back and honoured to inspire others to do the same.”  

Diane’s journey with QCH took a different path. After 26 years in interior design, she says she was looking for her next big passion.  She found it in her art and in supporting her local hospital.

“It appealed to me that I could be part of something meaningful and impactful,” she explains. “That no matter how big or small, my involvement at QCH could potentially help my elderly neighbour or an acquaintance that is struggling with depression.”

Diane went on to help lead the QCH Foundation Women In Philanthropy program. It brings together like-minded women who want to help transform healthcare for Ottawa and the region. “I love working with women who are invested like me. We are funding urgent projects such as ventilators that are helping to save lives. There’s nothing more important than that.” 

Both Diane and Cal say it’s all about finding the thing that speaks to you.

“If you look around enough, you will find your place,” says Diane. “Then decide what you want to do to make things better. That is your legacy.”

Diane and Cal have found a place at QCH, and they are leaving their mark.  Their support for better healthcare for our community will last for years to come. 

To learn more about our QCH Ambassador and Women In Philanthropy programs, or how you can support our Foundation as a volunteer, please contact Catherine Harwood at charwood@qch.on.ca or 613-581-2248.