Skip to main content

CHEO nurses and staff receive generous gift in return for help early in pandemic


Nurses and other staff at CHEO received a $25,000 gift from Sienna Senior Living as a thank you for the work they did during the early days of the pandemic.

There were very dark days at the beginning of the pandemic for the Madonna Care Community in Orléans, and so many other homes across the province and country.

“Lots of people not really knowing what’s going to take place and we, unfortunately had the beginnings of a large outbreak,” Jennifer Powley, Sienna Senior Living V.P. of Regional Operations tells CTV News Ottawa.

It was a time of crisis, as COVID outbreaks were taking the lives of residents and staff at many seniors’ residences and long-term care homes.

“One of the biggest things we needed was staffing; we needed support, we needed people to come in and help care for our seniors,” said Powley.

Sienna Senior Living put out a call for help at Madonna Care Community and the nurses and other staff at CHEO answered.

“A lot of their own staff were sick, and a lot of their residents were ill, so they needed help,” says Helen Yoxon, a CHEO nurse who spearheaded redeployment efforts.

“CHEO was not in need as much as they are now and we jumped at the opportunity to offer our assistance,” she says.

It was a pivot from taking care of the youngest patients to the oldest.

“We wanted to help our community. You jump in with two feet, as a nurse. That’s one of the reasons I went into nursing. So when we saw these people were in need, we went for it,” she says.

Now, at a time when CHEO is struggling with an overflowing ICU, as respiratory illnesses like RSV, the flu and, COVID-19 are hitting kids hard, Sienna Senior Living is returning a favour, and saying thanks.

Tuesday morning, Sienna Senior Living donated a $25,000. The money will be used to create a ‘Care Cart’ to provide snacks and other comfort items to those working tirelessly at CHEO, says Steve Read, CHEO Foundation President & CEO.

“Maybe, more importantly, it’s a reminder to them that while they’re working so hard in extraordinarily challenging circumstances internally here, the community is behind them,” he says.

“During times of crisis, you really know who your friends are and CHEO went above and beyond during the COVID crisis at some of our homes, and came to support us in a very meaningful way and now, this is our time return the favour,” Nitin Jain, Sienna’s President and CEO tells CTV News Ottawa.

It is a gesture and gift that will hopefully have an impact on those taking care of the youngest patients in need.

“I think it’s really beautiful,” says Yoxon. Top Stories

Stay Connected