Donor Stories

Giving is innovative. It is a life-changing act that shows the world what you believe in. At Baycrest, we celebrate our innovative, forward-thinking donors. They are looking to the future, understanding the needs of the community and donating their time and money to turn dreams into reality.

Please join us in honouring our community of donors. Their innovative gifts are transforming lives every day and for that, we are truly thankful.

Adding life to years
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  • NP Sherman
  • NP Simpson
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  • NP Cooper
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Picov Family Gift Transforms Care

Picov Family Gift Transforms Care

Lynda Picov has always led by example and, together with her husband Norm, talked to her family about the importance of caring for others and giving back.

She taught them well.

In honour of Lynda’s 78th birthday, The Robin and Barry Picov Family Foundation and The Picov Family have donated $250,000 to launch two high-impact projects at Baycrest Health Sciences.

“My mother is an inspiration to all of us,” said her son Barry Picov. “We are hoping that others will learn about her influence on us and her compassion and also be encouraged to make donations to help support care for people with dementia and their families.”

The first project is an online caregiver dementia support group for the partners or adult children of people with dementia. Each group includes six to eight people who meet with a social work facilitator once a week for eight weeks.

In the pilot phase, 89 per cent of caregivers reported an increase in their ability to manage care. After eight weeks, members of the groups decided to continue meeting and supporting each other.

In fact, the pilots were so successful that the Picovs provided more funding to create learning modules to allow other social workers and healthcare professionals across Baycrest to learn the ropes to expand access to even more family caregivers.

Not willing to stop there, the Picovs are now founding supporters of the Open Spaces project at the Apotex Centre, Jewish Home for the Aged.

Each floor of the residence currently has three separate “neighbourhoods” that are separated from each other and a large under-utilized recreation space. The Picov family will enable Baycrest to eliminate the doors between these neighbourhoods to increase the amount of safe wandering space.

The makeover will include renovated recreation space on each floor, complete with comfortable furniture and wheelchair friendly activity tables and conversation nooks, and a big-screen television for residents and their families.

“It really makes sense, and the whole family had no hesitation in supporting this project,” Picov said. “People with dementia often don’t understand why they’re encountering locked doors. This is all about dignity, and the more dignity you can show people who have this type of disease, the much more at home they can be.”

Staff will measure the impact on residents to see if the changes lead to more physical activity and reduce anxiety and sleeplessness.

It is easy to see the direct and immediate benefits these gifts will have for individuals with dementia and their family caregivers, but the Picov family is also cognizant of the need for philanthropy at the other end of the spectrum of giving – to fuel research by scientists studying root causes of dementia as well as interventions to prevent it or slow its progress.

So once again, they have made a transformative donation to the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging to support scientists across the country, including a number at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute who are involved in CCNA projects.

Barry Picov is eager to give credit to his parents. “These are their values, and we’re grateful that they shared them with their family,” he said. “It means a lot to us that we are able to make a difference. I encourage others to do the same and I can promise you will be so happy that you did!!”

If you’re interested in contributing to these important revitalization projects, email Karen Gordon, Principal Gifts Director, Baycrest Foundation, at kgordon@baycrest.org

Saving precious stories

Saving precious stories

The histories of many families are intertwined with the history of Baycrest – and this is particularly true for the Kalifer family.

About a decade ago, Bernyce and Marvin Kalifer dedicated the beautiful stained glass dome in the Morris and Sally Justein Heritage Museum in honour of Bernyce’s parents – Ben and Vera Walker, who gave their time and support to Baycrest.

But the family connection goes back even further. Bernyce’s grandmother Raya Shendroff supported the downtown Toronto Jewish Old Folks Home and was a board member long before Baycrest was established on Bathurst Street.

So it was a special moment in time when Marvin and Bernyce and their children – Ron Kalifer, Debbie Steinberg and Ellen Fialkov – and grandchildren gathered in the Spring of 2015 to launch a new chapter celebrating the family connection: the 10-year Kalifer Family Heritage and Legacy Project.

To get started, the family has donated a giant touchscreen and a new Museum on Wheels cart that is fitted with audio-visual recording equipment. “The main goal of the project is to use the audio-visual equipment to record the incredible stories of our seniors. With the help of Baycrest, we can make these amazing stories live on forever and ever,” said Ron Kalifer.

Stories are being archived and can be viewed on the screen next to the museum. They already include fascinating accounts by residents and former staff about life at Baycrest in an earlier era. Eventually, a special exhibition of collected reminiscences will be displayed at the museum and then travel to other locations.

At the launch, Garry Foster, president and CEO of the Baycrest Foundation, thanked the family for the special gift that will preserve stories of the past for future generations.“More people will be able to tap into our rich history; they’ll get to hear and see the recollections of members of our community,” he said. “Without this digital repository, those contributions and our understanding of how Baycrest has changed through the decades might be lost.”

The grandchildren of Marvin and Bernyce Kalifer say they’re happy that future generations will be able to see and hear the stories of seniors at Baycrest, and feel connected to the past just as they do.

Gift supports mental health

Multi-million dollar bequest helps educate the next generation

The RBC Foundation has made a generous donation to enhance the promotion of mental health at Baycrest. The RBC Mental Health Screening Program is designed to provide critical information and resources to seniors, their families and caregivers.

Changes that occur later in life such as job loss, the onset of chronic pain or the death of a spouse can trigger depression in older adults – and it’s not always easy to access services in the community. Family doctors often turn to Baycrest, which helps with assessment, consultation and treatments to manage and alleviate depression.

Generous support from the RBC Foundation is allowing Baycrest to see more patients in our clinic and in day programs that provide individual and group therapy, as well as training in techniques to manage and improve mental health.

Problem-solving therapy (PST) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction are among the resources that are more readily available to seniors because of support from the RBC Foundation.

Future-thinking donors support Baycrest’s Virtual Brain

Future-thinking donors support Baycrest’s Virtual Brain

Baycrest scientists, along with collaborators from 10 sites and three continents, are leading the development of the world’s first Virtual Brain: an integrated computer model of a fully functioning human brain.

Tony Zwig appreciates the Virtual Brain project. His mother, Helen, lived with Parkinson’s disease and after her passing in 2012 Tony generously donated $100,000 toward the project, which will help test experimental brain therapies on a computer to treat people like Helen and others suffering from brain-related diseases.

Dr. Max Glassman and his wife Gianna were inspired by Baycrest’s lead role in the development of the Virtual Brain, and were moved to become founding donors by giving $1 million to the project after attending Baycrest’s 2012 Research Festival. The Glassmans have a long history with Baycrest and are proud to support innovations that will change the face of health care in Canada and around the world.
“I believe there is a very real possibility that one day the Nobel Prize will be awarded to Baycrest for their brilliant research on memory, Alzheimer’s and cognition,” says Dr. Glassman. “The need for Baycrest’s services and research is mushrooming. I don’t see our work as done. It is really only beginning and I am confident Baycrest will become the icon for brain pathology, prevention and therapy worldwide.”

A special relationship: caring team, grateful family

Karen Gluckstein, left, holding her granddaughter Alexa, with Rose Bermanski, right.
Karen Gluckstein, left, holding her granddaughter Alexa, with Rose Bermanski, right.

Rose Bermanski holds her first great grandchild Isabella.
Rose Bermanski holds her first great grandchild Isabella.

After a cancer diagnosis, Rose Bermanski was told she had a life expectancy of three months. She moved from her retirement home to the Shirley and Philip Granovsky Palliative Care Unit at Baycrest.

But instead of a further decline, her health began to improve after two or three weeks. Rose had survived four camps in the Holocaust, including Auschwitz, and had a strong will to live, says her daughter Karen Gluckstein.

“The care was so loving and compassionate at Baycrest. Everyone adored her. She even went to exercise and craft classes.”

When it became apparent that Rose didn’t require palliative care, she moved to another part of the hospital and then eventually to the Apotex Centre, Jewish Home for the Aged.

Karen says her mother enjoyed visits from the rabbis, went to many prayer services, attended the bingo games, loved the concerts and was an involved member of the beading group. She was warm and generous and always had a smile on her face.

While Rose was living at Baycrest, her family made a series of “contracts” with her: She had to see her granddaughter get married, the arrival of one great-grandchild and then another.

In August 2015, three weeks after the birth of a second great-granddaughter, “she passed away peacefully where she wanted to be – in Apotex,” Karen said.

She was 92.

“I would like to express our sincere appreciation to Doctors Senderovich, Craft and Moser and all of the very loving and caring caregivers and volunteers at Baycrest,” Karen says. “We are so grateful that my Mom was able to live and thrive there.”

“She enjoyed every moment of her life in Baycrest. We had 2 ½ years with her that we wouldn’t have had – and we really believe it’s because of the care at Baycrest.”

To honour Rose, the family asked that donations in her memory be made to Baycrest.

Jillian Wynn donates bat mitzvah proceeds

Jillian Wynn

At the age of 12, Jillian Wynn donated the proceeds from her bat mitzvah to Baycrest. Her $10,000 donation has continued her family’s legacy of giving, and we thank our young donor for her generous gift.

"Baycrest is special to us. We visit my grandfather every Sunday. I just wanted to help the people who needed it most - people like my Zaidy." - Jillian Wynn

Nicole Rosove: ‘Both sides of my family have been affected’

Dancing with our Stars

When Nicole Rosove’s grandfather died of Alzheimer’s in December, it was the second time that she had lost a grandfather to the devastating disease that impairs cognitive function and steals precious memories.

She came up with Movement for Memories to honour them both.

Rosove, 25, is a dancer who grew up in Ottawa but she moved to Toronto about three years ago and now works in communications in the arts community. When she started talking about an evening of performances to raise awareness and money for Alzheimer’s research, she struck a chord with dozens of artists who were eager to participate.

“People were really willing to donate to this and show their support,” she said. “So many people know somebody, whether it’s a grandparent or family friend or a sibling, who suffers from a form of dementia. I think it’s a cause that’s really close to so many people’s hearts.”

On April 18, a sold-out venue in the Distillery District was filled to capacity for dance, spoken word and vocal performances. There was also an interactive slideshow by Andrea Mapili with facts about dementia and a photo exhibit by Jason Valdeavilla featuring people who have been affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Local artists provided raffle and silent auction items.

“It was amazing how many people volunteered to help out with this cause,” said Rosove, adding that her parents are familiar with Baycrest and they suggested that she direct the proceeds to Alzheimer’s research at Baycrest.

Rosove is considering hosting another Movement for Memories in the future but acknowledges it was time-consuming – and next time she would form committees to help.

“I see the potential for this to be bigger… It’s a lot, but thankfully it all came together very well.”