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The donors: Lindsay Holtz and Tim Close

The gift: $650,000 and climbing

The cause: Toronto’s Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

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Lindsay Holtz was having a normal pregnancy until it came time to deliver her baby.

Something went wrong and her son, Damian, was badly deprived of oxygen. He was put on life support but the brain damage was too extensive and he died after just seven days.

“Nobody saw this coming,” Ms. Holtz said. “You don’t really expect to leave the hospital without a baby. It was quite a shattering experience to say the least.”

About a year later, Ms. Holtz and her husband, Tim Close, decided to do something in Damian’s memory and they began raising money for programs to help other families facing similar difficulty. Since they started fundraising in 2011, they’ve collected $1.2-million in total and donated the money to several charities. Their main focus has been Toronto’s Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. The couple has donated $650,000 to help develop a novel virtual reality therapy room at the hospital, which makes rehabilitation easier for children, and to expand the Bloorview Research Institute, a leading centre for childhood disability research.

Ms. Holtz, who is a managing director at Connor, Clark & Lunn Financial Group Ltd., has also joined the hospital foundation’s board. She and Mr. Close, who is the chief executive of agricultural products maker Ag Growth International Inc., live in Toronto and have an eight-year-old daughter and five-year-old son. They plan to keep raising more money for Bloorview in memory of Damian.

“It’s really been healing for us in some ways to think that we’ve been able to take something very tragic and hopefully help others even if it’s just a little bit,” Ms. Holtz said.

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