The generosity of one family has put $1 million into the pockets of the Huntsville Hospital Foundation.
On May 11, Huntsville Hospital Foundation chair John Crockett, announced that the hospital foundation had been gifted $1 million in funding. The donation comes from Jason and Audrey DeZwirek who cottage in Lake of Bays.
The money will be used over an as-of-yet unspecified time frame to fund technology and capital assets in the hospital’s emergency department. In honour of the donation, the hospital foundation has renamed the emergency building the DeZwirek Family Emergency Department.
“Today is a very special day for the Huntsville Hospital Foundation,” Crockett said. “We’re very fortunate in the gift we have received. Today our goal is to pay tribute to a very generous family.”
The announcement was well attended by dozens including Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare board chair Charles Forret, Huntsville Mayor Scott Aitchison and Lake of Bays Mayor Bob Young as well as District of Muskoka chair John Klinck.
The donation is a welcomed gift; Crockett explained that according to hospital data the Huntsville emergency unit will be used by people over 200,000 times in the coming decade.
“This donation is for them, for the here-and-now and for continuing great local healthcare where we need it most,” Crockett said.
The DeZwirek’s live in Toronto, but their family has a history in Huntsville and Lake of Bays that extends back 45 years.
“[The DeZwirek’s] commitment to Huntsville and Muskoka is not new,” Crockett explained. “Jason’s father bought property on Lake of Bays 45 years ago just before Jason was born. At 19, Jason met Audrey, his wife-to-be, at an area camp while both were working as counsellors.”
Since then the DeZwirek family has continued to cottage in Muskoka and eventually became involved in the operation of a local quarry business that now employs 30 Huntsville residents.
Jason DeZwirek addressed the crowd gathered in the hospital to say a few words about the donation and the importance of healthcare to the community.
“Today is a celebration,” he said. “Not about us but a celebration of our hospital and all that it means for us. We are here to celebrate our hospital staff and all they do for us and we’re here to celebrate our community and what quality healthcare means to all of us.”
Jason DeZwirek added that there are three pillars of success that allow a community to thrive,
“The three pillars of any successful community are a good education system, a clean and sustainable environment and great accessible healthcare. Today one of the pillars is getting our attention.”
The DeZwirek family hope their contribution will help to inspire others to support the hospital foundation.
“We are so grateful to be able to make this donation,” Jason DeZwirek said. “We hope that this can be part of not just inspiring others to give within their means but also inspiring others to make an investment in the community, people, careers and health of our community. All of that can be achieved by investing in our hospitals.”