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Lessif family donation supports hospital’s orthopedic surgical program

Marilyn B. Lessif will be remembered at Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital.

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Gerry Dearing, executive director of the Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital Foundation, unveiled with John Lessif a plaque on the third floor of the hospital in memory of Marilyn, ‘Daughter-Sister-Aunt-Friend-Wife-Mother,’ recognizing the Lessif family’s generous support of the hospital’s Orthopedic Surgical Program.

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The Lessif’s $209,000 gift was used to purchase an orthopedic GE Digital Mobile ERGO C-Arm x-ray machine.

“We, the team here, would like thank (the Lessif Family) and present the recognition plaque for John’s wishes in memory of Marilyn,” said Dearing during the Sept. 29 event. “We are very grateful for this thoughtful, generous memorial gift in her name.”

John Lessif praised both the hospital and the orthopedic department.

“This health service being delivered here in Tillsonburg without question will be a godsend to many, many patients,” said Lessif. “Thank you for being part of this great community. As I understand, your department will be equipped with the most current orthopedic equipment available to assist your skills in delivering successful surgeries.”

He said he believes it is very important for the viability of the community that the hospital continues to grow its health services.

“Like any business, we are in a world of change driven by innovation. Our hospital is no different. It must continue to grow for the health of those that it serves.”

Lessif also thanked London Health Services for recognizing the need to expand its service at the hospital.

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“Without their blessing and support… it wouldn’t have happened.

“I had been searching for quite some time to keep alive Marilyn’s name in a public way. Marilyn was such a special person – the recognition had to be special.”

When Lessif read the hospital foundation’s flyer insert in the Norfolk and Tillsonburg News featuring the new orthopedic surgical program, listing the equipment and costs associated with each, Lessif said he knew the ‘C-Arm x-ray machine’ was it.

“Having had a knee replacement myself and Liz (Lessif) has had one knee replacement and waiting to have another one done, Jeff (Lessif) has had a hip replacement (and is on the waiting list to have another hip replacement), and Karla (Lessif) who has a physio clinic – Back in Motion – which delivers post-surgery rehab … I knew there was a connection to support the new program. More important to me, having Marilyn’s name attached to it, fits right in with who she was – kind, loving, generous.”

John Lessif said Marilyn would have an angel’s smile on her face knowing her name is attached to a program which enhances the quality of life for so many.

He also thanked new orthopedic surgeon Dr. Clayton Inculet for coming to TDMH.

“It’s so important, I can’t say it often enough that you have stepped up and are coming to Tillsonburg to direct this program.

“So, a loving daughter, a loving sister, a loving aunt, a loving wife, and a loving mother. Thank you all for your attendance today,” Lessif concluded.

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“To John and Liz and the entire Lessif Family, thank you very much for the contribution you have made,” said Dr. Inculet.

“Starting an orthopedic program is no easy feat by any means, and a big round of applause to Sandy (Jansen), the board and the foundation, and the entire community for helping to get this set up. It has taken some time and a lot of planning and forethought and a significant amount of funds to get this going.

“It’s beautiful, beautiful equipment, top of the line by all standards for sure, so I thank you for that. And I’m going to do my best and work as hard as I can to help support the community in any way I can.”

Sandy Jansen, President and CEO of Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital and Ingersoll’s Alexandra Hospital, added her thanks to John, Liz and the entire Lessif Family for their support.

Jansen recalled saying four-and-a-half years ago that TDMH would have an orthopedic program within five years.

A $209,000 donation from John Lessif and Family in memory of Marilyn B. Lessif, was used to purchase an orthopedic GE Digital Mobile ERGO C-Arm x-ray machine at Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital. (Chris Abbott/Norfolk and Tillsonburg News) jpg, TN

“I am the eternal optimist,” said Jansen. “So really, this has been a work that has been with us since the day I started. We recognized that this is desperately needed in this community, and not just Tillsonburg but our entire region.”

Jansen said it is families like the Lessifs that “step up and make the impossible possible. And I just can’t thank you enough. It’s so nice to hear about Marilyn and who she was and I can tell you as I walk down this hall I will be remembering Marilyn every single time, and I want to thank you all for your incredible generosity.”

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“We know that sometimes you can’t reach for the stars, but if you can you put your arm out and you just reach high and far,” said Ruby Withington, TDMH board chair. “And with a donation like yours, the Lessif Family, thank you. Thank you seems like such a small word, but you have enabled this part of the hospital and our team to help those in the community reach for the stars.”

“And on behalf of the Foundation board as well, they passed their words on to say ‘thank you so much for your support,’” said Dearing. “It makes such a difference in a community. We really appreciate everything that you’ve done to help out this program.”

cabbott@postmedia.com

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