Paths: our lives depend on them. Whether you know deep down which path to follow or find a theme in multiple paths; the ones we choose play a strong role in carving out the “how tos” and “whys“ of life. For Carole MacLaren, her trail system of paths revolved around local healthcare.
Carole’s first venture on the path to becoming an adult came at 18 when she started to train to become a nurse. It only took six weeks for Carole to realize nursing wasn’t for her. That decision and realization set her on a path into uncharted territory, which didn’t make sense until it took her to the love of her life: Bob.
Carole and Bob enjoyed their lives and growing their family on the South Shore. While they had to visit the hospital in Bridgewater from time to time for minor things, the couple never realized how much they appreciated having a regional hospital in Bridgewater until a car accident along Highway 103 left them both in need of medical help.
“I remember the cuts on Bob’s face,” Carole recalls. “The medical staff worked wonders on him; you would never know (by looking at him) there was an accident. I was worse for wear, having broken my neck. Through surgery and months of physiotherapy here on the South Shore I fully recovered. I really appreciated being able to recover in my hometown!”
Those months of physiotherapy highlighted a need Carole knew was already there, and yet another path: volunteering. Over the years, Carole volunteered in physiotherapy, palliative care, day surgery, even as a hospital volunteer coordinator. “I believe we can’t expect to receive in this world if we don’t give back. I knew I wanted to give back through the hospital.”
This desire to help also led the MacLarens to make numerous donations to the Health Services Foundation; mostly memorial donations in honour of friends and family who passed away. They also designated a final gift to the Foundation in their wills. “Healthcare became the foundation of the way Bob and I gave back.”
Carole and Bob experienced wonderful care at South Shore Regional Hospital many times over the years but realized the true value of local healthcare even more when Bob’s cardiac condition led him to the local cardiovascular unit. “They were wonderful,” Carole remembers. “From the doctors to the nurses, to the cardiac rehab team; they all became family. They provided loving care to Bob, right up to the end.”
Bob passed away in 2017, bringing a dark end to the path he and Carole travelled together over 40 years. But Carole found light again in giving back to South Shore Regional, through continued volunteering and memorial donations in Bob’s name.
“Whether you come to South Shore Regional Hospital voluntarily for help or in an emergency, you will at some point need this place. And when you do, you will want the hospital and its equipment to be the best it can be. The hospital is at the center of our community and we should support it.”