The Rizzardo Health & Wellness Centre will help improve access to care for so many of our neighbours, friends and loved ones. With your help, we will bring healthcare home to Innisfil … at last!
“We’re supporting the Rizzardo Health & Wellness Centre to help our home town.” – Greg Bray
Greg Bray is an Innisfil Fire Captain by day, and a farmer by night.
A long time resident of Innisfil – he and wife Nadina have lived here for 17 years – Greg has seen a lot of positive changes over the years. And the one he’s most excited about is the Rizzardo Health & Wellness Centre (RHWC).
Greg and Nadina have three daughters, and they remember how difficult it was without a family doctor – especially when the girls were young. “We would have to travel out of town to walk-in clinics and hospitals for outpatient tests and procedures over the years,” Greg recalls. “We didn’t have a family doctor until our third daughter was born.”
Travelling for health care services has been a way of life for Innisfil residents. Like many in the community, the Bray’s had heard about the RHWC, but didn’t know how they could help.
That changed the night they turned on the evening news and saw that local farmer, Boris Horodynsky, donated $1 million to support the project.
“We saw Boris’ donation and thought that we also want to help in our own small way,” says Greg. “And what better way to help than offering the proceeds of a product completely made in Innisfil to help grow Innisfil.”
That’s how Greg came up with the idea to donate maple syrup sales from Maple Heights Farms to support the RHWC. He mentioned the idea to his friend Brian Scott, owner of Innisfil Creek Honey. “Brian loved the idea and jumped on board,” says Greg.
Together, they sold $1,200 worth of syrup and honey over the March Break, and generously donated it to the RHWC.
“Bringing local health care to young families is such a huge accomplishment for our town,” says Greg. “We’re happy to do what we can to help.”
“I’m so thankful that healthcare and support services are finally coming to town!” – Susie Parker
Susie is part of the “Sandwich Generation” – she juggles the challenges of running two businesses, helping her grown children and grandchildren and volunteering in the community – all while caring for her aging parents.
Susie’s father suffered a stroke 10 years ago, and the long-term effects are difficult to manage. “Just taking him for bloodwork is a whole day ordeal,” explains Susie. “And on top of that, we have to go all the way back to Newmarket for the results.”
Between the drive, making sure her father is stable while he waits for her to park, lugging his wheelchair around, and simply managing all of the appointments with her busy schedule, travelling outside of her community for health care adds a great deal of pressure to Susie’s busy life.
Susie’s mother has dementia and is in long-term care. Finding help – not only for her mom, but emotional support for Susie and her husband – has been next to impossible. After talking to friends and co-workers about her parents’ failing health, Susie quickly realized she wasn’t alone. The need to talk and share was so great that she created a Sandwich Generation support group.
“Caregivers are suffering,” says Susie. “We want to help our parents, but we don’t have the proper training to look after patients.”
When the Rizzardo Health & Wellness Centre (RHWC) opens, it will not only provide the medical services that people like Susie need to help care for their family’s needs – it will also host community spaces for support groups and workshops. Programming is still being determined, but support for families and caregivers is high on the list. “Our community needs the RHWC for so many reasons,” Susie says. “I’m so thankful that it is finally coming to town!”
“The Rizzardo Health & Wellness Centre will make such a difference to so many of us!” – Linda Lewer
For the past three decades, Linda has travelled from Innisfil to Newmarket for doctor’s appointments, bloodwork, x-rays and tests. After those appointments, she returns to Innisfil, only to have to travel all the way back to Newmarket days later for the results. It has been a difficult trek over the years – there is a large time commitment and she often worries about the weather on the drive. But for Linda, and many Sandycove residents like her, it’s the way of life here in Innisfil.
A few years ago, Linda’s eyes were opened to just how difficult travelling for healthcare can be. During a routine surgery, Linda experienced a life-threatening complication. Her recovery was difficult and she wasn’t able to drive herself to critical post-op appointments. Linda relied on her community of friends and neighbours to drive her to appointments and help her through this time. “Without their help, I probably would not be here to tell this story,” says Linda. “If the Rizzardo Health & Wellness Centre had been here, it would have been a lot easier to manage.”
Linda will need another surgical procedure in the future. Although she is nervous after her last experience, she feels reassured knowing that the Rizzardo Health & Wellness Centre will be here to help her manage her recovery. “What a treat it will be not to have to drive 45 minutes to see a doctor,” she says. “Soon it will be less than a 15 minute drive to access the things I need like blood work, x-rays, and to get test results.”
Linda is not alone. Every day she sees her friends and neighbours struggling to manage their healthcare. “The Rizzardo Health & Wellness Centre will make such a difference to so many of us,” she says.
“The Rizzardo Health & Wellness Centre would have made a world of difference to me and my family!” – Doug Jernigan
Doug knew that, at 88 years old, his in-laws were starting to need extra help. But nothing could have prepared him for what he saw when he left his home in Kentucky 10 years ago to visit them here in Innisfil.
“My mother-in-law could hardly walk,” he recalls. “We had just visited a few months prior, but her condition worsened so much in that time. She needed a hip replacement and there was no way that my father-in-law could care for her by himself.”
Doug and his wife moved their lives to Innisfil. And though they instantly fell in love with their new home, the new-found role of caregiver came with many challenges in a community with limited access to healthcare services.
It was a struggle that Doug dealt with time and time again, as he helped provide care for his father-in-law (who passed away during their first year in Canada), and his mother-in-law, who they helped for the next eight years until she passed at the age of 95.
It was a challenge driving his mother-in-law to so many appointments, but an even bigger challenge for Doug was convincing her that she needed to go to them.
Between the travel, the parking the wait times – not to mention follow up appointments for bloodwork, x-rays and more – leaving the community for health services was a great source of stress for her, and it was difficult on the entire family.
Health and wellness impacts us all. From our own health, to that of our loved ones, travelling for care can take a toll. Doug wishes the Rizzardo Health & Wellness Centre was here when his family needed it, and is grateful to the community supporters who are investing in Innisfil’s future so that others will have an easier time accessing care.
Did you know:
- A large portion of Innisfil is outside of a 15 minute radius to the nearest hospital or urgent care centre
- Our population of 36,566 are being serviced by just 5 physicians
- Simcoe has the highest incidence of chronic disease in Ontario
That’s why the Town of Innisfil has committed to investing in the health and well-being of our residents – but we need your help.
Your generosity will help Innisfil make health and wellness a priority. The gift you make today will give our community access to the services and programs they need tomorrow.