Christine and Coleen Allum

A lifetime of kindness

Coleen Allum has devoted over two decades of her life to creating positive change in her community as a volunteer at Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation.

Coleen Allum has devoted over two decades of her life to creating positive change in her community as a volunteer at MSH Foundation.

Since moving to Markham with her family in 1998, she always believed it was her calling to give back to her community. While developing her passion for fundraising volunteering at her local church, she came across an opportunity to extend her volunteer efforts to MSH Foundation. Coleen chose to help the Foundation because she believes, “health care is always important no matter where you live, it’s important to everybody.”

Coleen’s tenure with MSH Foundation is longer than any other team member. Since 2003, she has donated her free time – when she’s not busy babysitting her grandchildren – to the Foundation’s cause. Coleen is determined to do whatever she can to make a difference in her community. “I think it’s important to give back to your community, do something, it’s rewarding,” says Coleen.

Coleen Allum

Family first

One of the primary reasons Coleen is adamant about supporting MSH Foundation is her family’s history of care at Oak Valley Health’s Markham Stouffville Hospital. In 2019, Coleen’s son Nick suddenly experienced intense chest pain. This prompted him and his wife Anita to seek help at MSH’s Emergency Department (ED). After briefly describing his symptoms to the triage nurse, ED staff provided immediate care.

Nick was suffering from a heart attack known as a "widow maker,” named after its high fatality rate. The hospital's quick intervention and advanced equipment saved Nick’s life. He recovered well with no permanent damage to his heart.

Coleen has thankfully never been admitted to the hospital herself, however, her husband, children, and grandchildren have all relied on the services provided by MSH for years. “I've come for tests and I'm very grateful for the health care that my family received and is still receiving at Markham Stouffville Hospital,” says Coleen. Through her work with MSH Foundation, she is dedicated to providing others with the same lifetime of care, close to home.

MSH is also home to many happy memories for the Allums. Coleen’s daughters Catherine and Christine both welcomed their babies at MSH, with Christine most recently giving birth on October 30, 2023. Like most new parents, Christine and her husband experienced some expected anxiety navigating their first pregnancy and delivery. They were relieved to have the opportunity to participate in many courses offered by MSH that would help her and her partner prepare for such a huge step in their lives.

“The patient-centered approach Oak Valley Health’s team took when caring for us was really great to see,” says Christine, “I felt confident that I could advocate for myself if I needed something and that they'd always respond positively.”

After a routine labour, baby Rory was born in great health. Christine then took advantage of the breastfeeding and postpartum care offered to her by Oak Valley Health’s Postpartum Village, a collection of services supporting new parents.

“As a mother, I feel confident for my daughter. I don't know how to say it, but I totally advocate for Markham Stouffville Hospital,” says Coleen. Not only was Christine reassured by the staff and services provided by MSH, but her mother’s belief in the care they provide after years of working alongside them.

“I think it’s important to give back to your community, do something, it’s rewarding."

Coleen Allum

A Reason to Give

Today, you can find Coleen at the Foundation office every Tuesday with something freshly baked for her team. She never fails to put a smile on everyone’s face when she’s around.

After 20 years as a dedicated volunteer, Coleen values the Foundation’s work and the impact it has on MSH’s frontlines more than ever. “The government doesn’t provide everything for the hospital,” Coleen emphasizes. “The work of the Foundation helps fill that need.”

Community support is crucial not only as an investment in the community today, but for generations to come. “It is important to give back, I wish more people would do that,” adds Coleen. “Not everyone is in a position to give millions, but every bit helps bring world-class care, close to home.”

Giving back to make a difference

Volunteers like Coleen are the unsung heroes of MSH, dedicating their time to creating a positive change for those relying on the hospital’s services. Volunteers enable our dedicated health care professionals to focus on delivering quality care, close to home.

MSH Foundation and Oak Valley Health offer a variety of volunteer opportunities tailored to various skill sets and interests. To learn how you can join the team, visit here or oakvalleyhealth.ca.

Coleen Allum giving back at MSH Foundation

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