Leading by Example: Inspiring More Young People to Financially Support Hospital

Stephanie Worthington (right) shares a high five with OSMH Foundation’s Executive Director Mark Riczu after making a $5,000 commitment to the Hospital’s Ophthalmology Department.
Stephanie Worthington (right) shares a high five with OSMH Foundation’s Executive Director Mark Riczu after making a $5,000 commitment to the Hospital’s Ophthalmology Department.

As a millennial, Stephanie Worthington wants to show her peers that supporting their local Hospital is attainable and important — even for younger generations.

A funeral director by profession, Worthington is also one of the newest members of the Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital Foundation’s Board of Directors. In October, she chose to make a major gift of $5,000 paid over five years in support of Soldiers’ Ophthalmology Department.

“The inspiration for my commitment comes from personal experience,” explained Worthington. “For nearly three years I have been undergoing treatment to fight two forms of diabetic eye disease.” She has both proliferative diabetic retinopathy and macular edema, the two leading causes of blindness in diabetics.

Without a personal connection to the Hospital, it can be challenging to engage younger generations in understanding the importance of fundraising for Hospital equipment — something Worthington hopes to shed light on.

“As a millennial in the early stages of becoming established in my career, it is important for me to share how easy a contribution to the Hospital can be,” Worthington explained. “At some point, we will all eventually require, or know someone who requires, Hospital services and it is largely due to the generous contributions of many donors that Soldiers’ can provide such a high standard of care.”

“Health sciences are constantly evolving and so too is the need to upgrade health equipment and technology to maintain the highest level of care,” said Mark Riczu, the OSMH Foundation’s Executive Director. “Hospitals like Soldiers’ turn to the generous community for help to fundraise for these improvements,” he explained. “Engaging Gen Xers and millennials is important to sustain the future of community-based healthcare funding.”

“Most of our donations come from the boomer generation and beyond, likely due to their increased financial stability and more frequent use of the Hospital,” Riczu continued. “But, when we breakdown pledged major gifts like the one Steph has made, for under $20 per week Gen Xers and millennials can support the Hospital and make an incredible impact on the health of an entire community.”

Annually, more than $3 million is raised by the community to purchase equipment, technology and educational programs for Soldiers’ through the Hospital Foundation and almost half of that comes from major gifts. Pledge donations are tax-deductible and come with recognition on the donor wall in the main lobby of the Hospital.

“The whole process was fun,” said Worthington. “I got to choose my area of designation, or the piece of equipment I wanted to fund. I receive updates on my donation and have been able to meet staff and physicians who benefit from my pledge.” She added, “I am also more aware of the Hospital’s ongoing needs. For example, I know we need three $5,000 specialized surgical stretcher beds for cataract procedures and now I can share that information with others.”

To make a pledge or a one-time contribution to Soldiers’, please contact the Foundation Office at 705-325-6464.