In the last dozen years, Gloria Haddrath has visited The Scarborough Hospital (TSH) countless times as her parents, Mario and Tommasina Tagliaferri, received care. She never took her parents for granted – or the hospital that treated them.
“Caring, kind and sweet.” That’s how Gloria describes the feel at the hospital.
Mario was treated at TSH for colon cancer at age 77. Four years later, Tommasina was treated for breast cancer, also when she was 77. Tommasina also dealt with kidney problems, and started dialysis in September 2014.
The couple settled in Scarborough after emigrating from Italy. Mario came first and later sent word home that he wanted Tommasina to join him. They knew each other only as neighbours, says Gloria. Tomassina’s father would agree if she was wed. So the couple married by proxy. The first time Mario saw Tomassina as his bride was when she arrived in Canada.
Mario and Tommasina had four children, and were married 61 years. In December 2014, Tommasina passed away at 85. Mario, 90, still lives in Scarborough.
Gloria has nothing but praise for two of Tommasina’s doctors, Dr. Ting and Dr. Nagai. In particular, she says “Dr. Ting helped her in so many ways to extend her life.”
She always felt the doctors patiently explained what was going on, and were very open to answering questions. The different teams and departments increased the level of care too through collaboration. “They worked very well together,” says Gloria.
So did her parents, who she says taught her values that endure: work hard, respect others, and show commitment to what you love. For her, that commitment extends to TSH. After Tomassina died, Gloria made a donation to TSH to honour her mother and acknowledge the great care she received.
To Gloria, TSH isn’t just a place; it’s the dedicated people who work here, like her mother’s caregivers. She hopes the people of the community recognize and support that too.
“If you can give a little bit and it helps,” she says, “in the end you’ll help yourself because the hospital will be stronger.”