When patients give back, they encourage us to keep going, but I also feel a sense of responsibility to make sure their donations make an impact.

Nurse honoured through donations more than a hundred times

Meeran Manji, Registered Nurse and patient co-ordinator for the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Clinic at Toronto Western Hospital, has been nursing for over 25 years.

A mother of two and a caregiver to her mother with dementia, Meeran works hard to ensure that the patients coming to her clinic become part of a community, where she can instill a sense of self-worth and confidence in those struggling with lung disease.

This hard work and community building has resulted in more than 100 donations in Meeran’s name through Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation’s Honour your Hero (HYH) program. Created in 2008, HYH has been providing patients and their families with the opportunity to acknowledge the care and support they received while also making an impactful gift that benefits research, education and the enhancement of patient care at our hospitals.

The patients who visit the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Clinic are suffering from a whole host of lung diseases, including lung cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, emphysema and others. Meeran, along with a team of clinicians and specialists, provides a space for these patients to make positive lifestyle changes and create a plan of action to stay out of the hospital in the future.

She has started a monthly support group to let patients know they are not alone, and she also runs a biweekly singing group with a music therapist, funded by a generous donor. Studies have shown that singing has numerous benefits for those suffering from lung disease, and the group is a favourite part of the rehab program.

It can be a lot of work, but the patients keep her going. “When they honour us through the [HYH] program, they touch our hearts and really make us feel valued,” says Meeran. “When patients give back, they encourage us to keep going, but I also feel a sense of responsibility to make sure their donations make an impact.”

Donations through HYH go towards the highest-priority needs at Toronto General and Toronto Western hospitals, allowing us to help pursue the knowledge that will save lives.

Meeran wants others to know that while the honour might be in her name, the gift recognizes the work of the entire team. “Nothing happens alone,” she says. “I share all of these honouree certificates with the clinicians, therapists, dietitians, administration and everyone involved in supporting our patients, and it is meaningful to know that we are all appreciated.”

It makes Meeran emotional to think about all of the donations made in her name, just for doing her job. Helping others is her calling, and she is happy to be part of a team that makes such a big difference in the lives of so many.  “I’m honoured to be honoured,” she says. “There is no greater gift than giving back to humanity.”

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