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Investor rewards St. Mike's for remarkable care

Garth Jestley, Gideon Valenzuela and Murray Brasseur from Middlefield Group were inspired by the care given to Mr. Valenzuela's wife at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto.

Michelle Sui / The Globe and Mail/Michelle Sui / The Globe and Mail

The Donor: Murray Brasseur

The Gift: $1-million

The Cause: Toronto's St. Michael's Hospital Foundation

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About a year ago, Gideon Valenzuela and his wife, Annabelle, were driving home from visiting Mr. Valenzuela's mother in Mississauga, Ont., when a drunk driver slammed into the passenger side of their car. The car flipped and Ms. Valenzuela took the brunt of the impact. An ambulance rushed her to St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, where doctors gave her a 50-50 chance of surviving.

The accident had come barely two years after Mr. Valenzuela's father died when he was hit by a truck while crossing a street at a crosswalk in Mississauga.

The tragedies shook Mr. Valenzuela's colleagues at Middlefield Group, a Toronto investment firm where he and his mother, Purificacion, have worked for more than a decade. "It was just really unbelievable," said Murray Brasseur, Middlefield's founder and chair. "Gideon is my assistant. He's my right hand."

Annabelle Valenzuela spent weeks in intensive care and had four operations, including plastic surgery. She's still recuperating and experiences some pain, but her recovery has been remarkable. "She's just happy to be alive," her husband said.

Mr. Brasseur has been so impressed by the care Ms. Valenzuela received at St. Mike's that he is donating $1-million, through Middlefield, to the hospital's foundation. He said the gift is also in recognition of the care Middlefield's chief executive, Garth Jestley, received at St. Mike's, where he was successfully treated for early stages of lung cancer.

"St. Michael's has been so good to everyone, including Garth, that we just said, 'Yes, let's help them out here,'" Mr. Brasseur said.

Mr. Valenzuela said he and his wife hope the donation helps express their gratitude to the hospital. "During my wife's stay I couldn't say enough good things about the staff," he said. "Her being here now is a result of their care."

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