SickKids Innovators Q&A: Patrick & Diana

As a parent, you never want to have to take your child to SickKids. But if you do, you know it's the best place to be. This is a feeling that Patrick and Diana Hamm experienced first-hand, when one of their sons was diagnosed with neuroblastoma at birth. After spending the first six months of his life in and out of the Hospital, they decided they wanted to give back to the place that had given their family so much. The SickKids Innovators program was the perfect place to start, combining their passion for giving, learning and socializing.

Tell us about your SickKids experience?
We always felt really comfortable at SickKids. Part of this was because we were confident of the care we were receiving. Just as important was the approachability of our incredibly kind team of doctors and nurses who always welcomed us with huge smiles and friendly chats, which was needed during long visits.

Diane and Patrick Hamm
What was it about the Innovators program that resonated with you?
We liked the combination of giving to a great cause and learning about the Hospital and paediatric healthcare. Innovators provides an incredible opportunity to see and be a part of the trailblazing work that is going on at SickKids.

Patrick, what is it like being on the Innovators Advisory Council?
I only joined the Council this year, but I have enjoyed the challenge of trying to grow the program. I think it’s important to discuss how to get more people engaged in philanthropy and that’s definitely a large part of the conversation.

“[It’s] the right combination of socializing, learning and giving.”


Why should individuals and couples join Innovators?

We think Innovators offers the right combination of socializing, learning and giving. If someone is interested in even one of those things, Innovators has a lot to offer. If someone is interested in all of them, that’s even better.


What do you like to do as a family? Have you merged any traditions you started during your time overseas with Canadian pastimes? 

One of the things we enjoy doing is going to galleries and museums, particularly to see contemporary art. This was a huge part of our life in London, so we try to keep it up here. Some exhibits may be more kid-friendly than others, but they always evoke interesting responses.


What are your favourite Toronto social spots?

Two great restaurants we love are Giulietta and Maison Selby, but with two young kids we find having friends over for early weekend dinners increasingly common.


What’s on your reading list at the moment?

Diana has read three books by Meg Wolitzer this year and enjoyed them all. She has just finished “The Interesting’s” and is now reading an old Nancy Mitford book which is a fun read for the end of summer. Patrick has just finished Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel and liked it so much that he’s ordered two of her other books - Bring up the Bodies and A Place of Greater Safety.