Family is a theme that often surrounds a healthcare journey.


From blood-relations to chosen family, these are the people that lift patients up and are with them during their toughest times. We know a healthcare journey is not one you take alone.


This September, we celebrated one truly remarkable family who made a legacy gift to the QEII Foundation. A gift from one family to help many, many families.


The MacDonald family came together to honour their late parents, Colin and Belle MacDonald, with a transformational $20-million gift — the largest, single donation ever received by the QEII Foundation.


From humble beginnings, Colin and Belle taught their seven children the importance of giving back and caring for each other and for the community. A family motto that is often spoken is that one’s true wealth is family and that family is everything. 


The MacDonald family gift will help transform cancer care at the QEII Health Sciences Centre. It will be the catalyst for enabling future innovation and discovery opportunities to happen sooner for cancer care. These developments will help contribute to delivering care differently, improving access and patient outcomes, reducing wait times, and attracting and retaining the brightest minds in medicine. 


The family is also supporting advanced cancer care technology, such as personalized radiotherapy, a world’s first cancer-fighting technology being developed at the QEII. 


In honour of their late parents, Colin and Belle MacDonald, the MacDonald family’s tribute gift will name the new cancer care centre being developed as part of QEII New Generation.


With a vision of integrated, advanced care delivered in a supportive, healing environment, the new cancer centre will be a beacon of hope for patients and families and exemplify the commitment to deliver compassionate, innovative health care. The MacDonald family shares a similar commitment, as healthcare connections run deep in their family.


The matriarch of the family, Belle, was head nurse for many years at the former Halifax Infirmary hospital. Her strength, perseverance, and giving nature was instilled in the seven MacDonald children, who are proud to honour both of their parents with this gift. 


Family and steadfast commitment was also on our minds this fall, with the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The QEII Health Sciences Centre was named after Her Majesty during her three-day Royal Tour of Nova Scotia in 1994.


As I reflect on her decades of commitment to service, I take inspiration for our work and for connecting with our community to advance care at the QEII.