A Truly Inspiring Evening in Goderich

NOVEMBER 4, 2018 The AMGH Foundation hosted a gala, Saturday October 21, in support of the mental health services provided at the Alexandra Marine and General Hospital.   

Once the hall filled up, guests were invited to take their seats and were welcomed to the event by Shawn Lynn, Chair of the AMGH Foundation.  Shawn shared with the audience one of the first things he learned when he joined the Foundation Board, “When I joined the Foundation’s Board of Directors three years ago, I was under the mistaken belief that the Foundation raised funds for the “extras” that the Hospital needed.  I was shocked to discover the amount of necessary patient care equipment that was required beyond what the Hospital received government funding for.  Our mental health unit is a great example…it is a 20-bed inpatient facility, but the actual beds needed for patients are funded by the Foundation.  Examples like this can be found all over our hospital…not of extras but of items that are required to provide safe, quality health care.”  Funds raised from Saturday’s event will go directly to enhancements and upgrades to the inpatient mental health unit, focused on creating a safe environment for patients, families and visitors, and health care providers, which is more conducive to healing and positive patient outcomes. 

Following dinner, Dr. Patrick Conlon, Chief of Psychiatry and Chief of Staff at AMGH, shared some information about the vital mental health and addiction services available in Huron County and the need to fund the required enhancements to better meet the growing needs of our community.  Dr. Conlon then welcomed, and turned the stage over to, special guest Margaret Trudeau.

Margaret Trudeau engaged the audience as she spent an hour sharing her life story.  From her upbringing, to her marriage to Pierre Trudeau, raising her sons, and where she is in her life now.  Throughout the talk, Margaret opened up about how her mental health issues presented themselves throughout the years, how those issues were handled at the time, and how she came to understand her part in her own mental health care.  While addressing a very serious subject, and educating the audience on different mental health issues and their multiple causes or indicators, Margaret was able to laugh at her own experiences and had the crowd laughing as well.

Margaret spent over an hour signing copies of her book, Changing My Mind, available for purchase at the event by Fincher’s.  She took the time to chat with each guest who lined up to see her, signed their book, took photos, and gave hugs.  Her genuine kindness and warmth was felt by everyone.  She thanked guests who took the time to share their stories with her as well, and was particularly delighted by a 93-year old guest who brought photos with her of when she had met Pierre Trudeau.  

The evening concluded with a live auction conducted by Ben Lobb, with the help of Glen McNeil engaging bidders, which featured items donated by local businesses, the AMGH Board and physicians, and members of the community. 

“There are just too many people to thank for making tonight such a success,” shared Shannon LaHay, Executive Director of the AMGH Foundation.  “Everyone who had a part in this evening, from sponsors and donors, to those who purchased tickets for the evening and the volunteers, each one of them demonstrated a commitment to supporting quality mental health care in our community.”