A long-time Markham resident and original MSH employee, Gloria Cuadra knows the importance of having care close to home.
Gloria Cuadra is no stranger to Markham Stouffville Hospital.
In 1990, she joined MSH’s first 500 employees and worked the evening shifts in the Sterile Processing Department, now better known as the Medical Device Reprocessing Department.
As a Markham resident for over 37 years, she has seen the community change and grow, including the hospital. And, like many community members, Gloria and her family have relied on the health care services available in their own backyard.
In July of 2007, Gloria’s eldest daughter, Marilen, was expecting her first child. Marilen was diagnosed with preeclampsia and her obstetrician, concerned about the baby’s growth, cautiously monitored her. Unexpectedly while at a routine checkup, her obstetrician made the decision to quickly admit Marilen and ensure the baby’s safe delivery. Gloria’s first granddaughter, Kennedi, was born two months early at MSH, only weighing 2lbs, 6oz.
“You could hold her in the palm of your hand,” says Gloria. “It was the first time in my life I had witnessed how vital and necessary having a hospital close to home with a neonatal intensive care unit was.”
The heart of care
Gloria’s first experience with MSH’s care wouldn’t be the last. Six years later, Gloria returned to MSH with her husband, Rey. He was experiencing stomach pains, tightness in his chest and difficulty breathing and they knew something wasn’t right. They quickly made their way to MSH’s Emergency Department for Rey to be assessed. Rey was then referred to Dr. Joseph Minkowitz, a cardiologist at MSH, who discovered that three of his arteries were blocked and required a triple bypass surgery.
After a successful surgery, he continues to be monitored, and has maintained his quality of life with diet and exercise.
I am so proud that this is my hospital.
After working at MSH for 25 years, Gloria retired in 2015. However, even after retirement, Gloria continues to share so many life moments at MSH with her growing family, who have received generations of care there.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Gloria was thrilled to find out that her youngest daughter, Madeline, was expecting her first child. Elodie was born in April 2021, over a year after the worldwide pandemic was first declared.
“It’s hard not being there for your family, especially your child, when they are in the hospital,” adds Gloria. “Still, I was comforted knowing she was at MSH. Even though I don’t know everyone who works in the hospital, I knew that she would have the best care team looking after her and the baby.”
Earlier this year, Gloria returned to MSH to accompany a friend who was navigating her breast cancer journey. Her friend’s surgery would uncover that the cancer was aggressive and time would not be on her side. The cancer had spread to her friend’s brain and in May, she spent her final days in MSH’s palliative care surrounded by loved ones, including Gloria.
“Even in those final moments, I witnessed compassionate care not only to my friend, but to all of us who stayed at the bedside,” shares Gloria. “Losing anyone and saying goodbye is already so difficult and the team at MSH really went above and beyond.”
Giving starts at home
Gloria understands that the hospital can only grow with the help of community support. Government funding is not enough and can’t cover the cost of all priority equipment needs and technology advancements.
“I’m a firm believer that giving starts at home. It is what my parents taught me and what we teach our children. If you have the means to support, it’s important to help others for the betterment of society and the community,” adds Gloria.
“I’m just a regular person. I donate what I can as I know others have similar stories to mine who rely on this hospital in so many ways, and MSH needs us too,” explains Gloria. “I am so proud that this is my hospital.”