The Donors: Gary and Debby Selke
The Gift: $250,000
The Cause: Toronto’s St. Joseph’s Health Centre
The Reason: To expand the hospital’s Just for Kids Clinic
When Gary and Debby Selke’s nine-month-old daughter, Lianne, fell ill with double pneumonia one Christmas Eve, they rushed her to the children’s clinic at St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto.
“She was pretty iffy in terms of her ability to breathe,” recalled Mr. Selke, chief executive officer of Toronto-based Front Street Capital.
The incident was more than 20 years ago, but Mr. Selke still remembers returning to visit his daughter at the Just for Kids Clinic early on Christmas Day and being surprised to see a full team of doctors and nurses caring for his daughter.
“They were instrumental in nursing Lianne back to health,” he said. Mr. Selke was so impressed with the clinic that he became involved in the hospital’s foundation, sitting on the board of directors and later joining with his wife in helping to raise money.
He recently offered to match all individual donations up to $250,000 and Front Street sponsored a recent fundraising event that raised $225,000 for the clinic.
The donations will go toward expanding Just for Kids so that it can handle up to 17,000 visits annually, from 11,000 today.
“As I’ve been lucky in life, we had the opportunity to go and give back,” he said.
He added that Lianne, now 23, is healthy and active. “She’s out riding a horse today,” he said. “She has a bright outlook and a bright future, thanks to the clinic more than 20 years ago.”