How do you choose a gift for someone who already has everything they need?

For QEII physiotherapist Janice Ptak, the choice was easy. Newlyweds Janice and John decided that in lieu of receiving wedding gifts, they would invite their guests to give to help others.

“I’m a glass-half-full kind of person, and we were very lucky in life. We live in a dry house, in a great country; we have good health and all of our abilities,” says Janice. “But there are those who don’t necessarily have their abilities, and anything we can do to help them gain some of that back is something we would like to be part of.”

Special occasion giving is a way for people to mark milestones like birthdays, anniversaries, and in Janice's case, a wedding, by making a donation to a charity such as the QEII Foundation. Like any donation, special occasion gifts go towards medical equipment, special project funding, as well as advancing education and research at the QEII.

Those making a special occasion gift can choose to give to the QEII's area of greatest need or a specific medical discipline of their choice. Janice requested her guests support Revitalizing Rehab, an initiative aimed at improving the QEII’s Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre for patients facing physical and cognitive challenges. As a physiotherapist close to the project, Janice knows the positive effects felt by patients — and also how much funding and support is needed for the improvements. John chose a charity as well, one that is very close to him, as another option for their guests.

“We have everything we need so we suggested our guests donate to one of the two charities so that we can help others improve their lives,” says Janice. “We’d really appreciate it if they helped someone else out instead.”

Special occasion giving has been adopted not only by the QEII Foundation, but by virtually every charity, organization and group worldwide. People have the option to choose a one-time gift, or a recurring donation, which is common when marking an anniversary or in memory of a loved one.

Janice and John’s generosity has the potential to grow. Their request immediately raised money for two deserving groups and has the potential of exposing their guests to a gift-giving option they might not have been aware of, keeping generosity going in the future.