In honour of David: a mother’s gift for future pediatricians

Diana’s son died in her arms. He was only nine years old.

David developed chronic asthma and severe allergies at the age of 2½. As a result, he was constantly in and out of the hospital as a young boy.

David’s death was a tragic accident. He mistakenly ate a peanut butter cracker at a friend’s house. This was in 1980, before Diana even knew EpiPens existed. By the time the ambulance arrived, her son’s lips and ears were purple. On the way to the hospital, the ambulance hit heavy traffic. Despite the best efforts of the paramedics, Diana’s son was gone by the time they reached the emergency room doors.

Diana says she has no words to capture that loss. But, as a single parent with two other children, she had to keep on moving forward. She put one foot in front of the other day after day after day. At the time, she was attending the University of Saskatchewan to get her teaching degree and working three jobs to support her family.

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Diana holds a photo of her beloved son. David Photo credit: Bev Cooper

Losing your child is devastating, yet Diana’s positive spirit wouldn’t let her wallow in grief. Throughout her life, she has continued to seek out joy wherever she could.  After graduation, she savored the small morsels of joy she found as a teacher. Diana loved to see the light go on in a child’s eyes when she discovered the right way to successfully teach them a concept. She was delighted to watch children grow and reach their potential.

Many years later, after she retired, Diana brought more joy into her life by volunteering on the pediatric ward at Royal University Hospital. It was here that she became aware of a remarkable group of young people, the pediatric residents.

Diana had been thinking about making a gift in her will for some time. At the age of 72, she decided it was time to take action.

In her estate, Diana has made a provision to ensure that every year one first-year pediatric resident at the College of Medicine will receive a $5,000 annual award. She knows that becoming a pediatrician is expensive and hopes that her gift might help ease some of the financial stress for our future doctors.

Diana says that she’s proof positive that you don’t have to be rich to give back. The gift in Diana’s will is her way of paying it forward. She feels good that her gift will benefit future doctors. She wants to ensure that other families experience the same calibre of care that David did when he was a little boy.

Diana knows that her gift is for the future. It’s a gift that will benefit many people in Saskatchewan.