Linda Jackson has passed through the doors of Eagle Ridge Hospital countless times over three decades and like any enduring relationship, the one with her community hospital is best remembered by the emotions that underscored those visits.
There was the confusion and fear that came with the discovery of her aneurysm a decade ago, followed by the relief and joy from her eventual recovery and discharge. There was her deep appreciation at how well the hospital cared for her mother after a stroke, and the gratitude Linda felt that prompted her first donation to Eagle Ridge Hospital.
And there was the thankfulness when Linda’s father, recovering from a chronic illness, was able to leave the hospital to convalesce in his daughter’s Port Moody home.
Her husband Endel passed away several years ago following a short illness. “When my husband became ill, they [the hospital staff] did everything for him.” Four years later, Linda felt deep gratitude for the unsurpassed care, attention and compassion provided by the palliative care team at Eagle Ridge, before their dearest friend passed away from a terminal illness. Recalling those days now, tears can be seen clouding Linda’s eyes.
Retiring at the end of 2000, Linda’s volunteer work and donor role with the Foundation gave her a channel for her energy, skill and sense of duty. She has stuffed envelopes, marshalled events, and served up refreshments, among many other tasks, to help the Foundation’s fundraisers.
But whether it was as patient, daughter, wife, friend, donor, or volunteer, all the emotions that can be felt over three and a half decades, have been experienced by Linda in this community hospital. And the sentiments that rise to the surface are gratitude, and loyalty.
“They have been there for me; it is a very good hospital,” says Linda of Eagle Ridge Hospital. Recalling the diagnosis of her brain aneurysm, she says, “If not for them, I may not be here today. I myself, could have died in that hospital.”
Well aware that the Tri-Cities community is one of the fastest growing in the health region, and of the demand on its hospital matching to meet that growth, she explains why she has committed to planned giving toincluding the Eagle Ridge Hospital Foundation in her will.“I believe in giving in the community I live,” she explains. Linda does not have children, and her other family members are taken care of so she feels she can afford to give generously to the hospital from her estate.
“I also think older people are probably more grateful for the facilities provided for them, because they really need them.” She also suggests that her generation was more accustomed to giving charitably because it was expected of them in decades past. She said government funded services were not as broad or available as they are today, and charity filled the gaps.
“You should give because you need them,” says Linda about donating to charities. “Don’t expect anything in return.”Ensconced in her cheerful kitchen with Cuddles the dog curled up in the corner, Linda appears ready to roll up her sleeves for whatever help is needed. Known for her willingness to help others, in 2004 Linda was honoured with the Neighbour to Neighbour award, a Spirit of Community Award in the Tri-Cities. And nNow as donor and active volunteer for the Eagle Ridge Hospital Foundation, Linda remains busy: . (She is currently working on preparation of the golf balls that will be used in the Foundation’s upcoming Charity Golf Classic on May 30.)
Linda can convey a serious tone when speaking of something meaningful, but frequently reveals an easy-going sense of humour as well. “I give, but I am frugal about it,” she says, explaining that her former employer matches retired employees dollar for dollar once a year, so she makes sure she doubles her money by timing her donation to get the maximum yearly amount.
She smiles knowingly. “As long as the hospital gets double the money, I’m happy!”