Believed to be the single largest private gift to paediatric cancer in North America, a $30-million gift to The Hospital for Sick Children was inspired by one boy’s journey with cancer.
Michael Garron’s illness went undetected for months. It took the form of a small lump on his hand looking more like a cyst than a deadly disease. When the lump grew larger, Michael saw a specialist in Montego Bay, Jamaica, where his father was stationed with the Bank of Nova Scotia.
Test results were grim. Michael’s specialist recommended the Garrons return home to Ontario, Canada, to seek the advice of John Hall, a specialist at SickKids. Dr. Hall diagnosed Michael with a rare soft tissue cancer, synovial sarcoma.
Just shy of his sixth birthday, Michael had his middle finger removed to stop the spread of cancer. His lower arm came next and Michael began to withdraw from his friends and family. His parent sought the help of Sol Goldstein, a psychiatrist at SickKids.
Dr. Goldstein worked with Michael to help guide him through the next few years of his life. Sadly, Michael lost his battle with cancer at the age of 13.
Myron and Berna Garron know first-hand the struggle parents must face when their child is stricken with cancer. That’s why on October 25, 2010, at a celebration at SickKids, they announced a transformative gift of $30 million to establish The Garron Family Cancer Centre. They hope their gift will allow the Hospital to help more children survive their cancer diagnosis.
Michael’s psychiatrist, Dr. Goldstein, went on to write a book in 1986 on Michael’s journey with cancer. He named it Michael’s Ship: The True Story of a Young Boy’s Struggle to Live. An excerpt from Dr. Goldstein’s book reads: “Our memories of Michael exist not to haunt us, but to help us – to show the true value of life and how it should be lived.”
Learn more about the transformational gift from the Garron family.