Every year, thousands of Canadians head south of the border in search of warmer temperatures during the winter months. But some, like Honor Nivin, are “reverse snowbirds.” Honor lives in Ontario, but spends much of the year in Nova Scotia, arriving in the spring and staying five or six months in her rural Hants County home.

“It’s such a contrast from a huge city like Toronto,” she says. “I just slow right down. I don’t have to deal with traffic and stress. I just love the country life.”

While exploring Nova Scotia’s Noel Shore in 2010, she fell in love with the area.

Honor got to know her neighbours, who were always mentioning the QEII Health Sciences Centre.

“I had no idea where it was, or how big it was,” she says.

But Honor, who volunteers at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre when she’s in Ontario, was inspired to support the largest adult health centre in her second home province. She then connected with the QEII Foundation to see how she could help.

Soon after, Honor visited Halifax for a tour of the QEII. “I thought: Wow, it is doing so much for not just Nova Scotia, but for all of the Maritimes.”

She was blown away by the size of the facility and the number of people receiving treatment.

The health services director conducting the tour explained how donations have improved patient care by providing the resources needed for the most advanced surgeries and treatments.

“I thought, I can afford to give to the QEII,” she says. “I knew my donation would be helping patients from across the region.”

Honor says she always loved medicine; her grandfather was a doctor. She enjoyed her career as a school geography teacher, but wanted a way to express her love of medicine. That’s why she helps out at Sunnybrook and now the QEII in Halifax.

Honor knows if she needs medical care while she’s in Nova Scotia, she’ll rely on the QEII. She encourages other seasonal Nova Scotians to support the QEII as well.

“I’m very appreciative, having seen some of the different buildings and care areas, and what they’re fundraising for. I think it’s wonderful that it exists and it’s doing so much for so many provinces,” she says. “More people like myself — who are not here full time but who might benefit from the hospital — should be donating if they can.”