For those of you who don’t know him, we would like to introduce our boss, John MacTavish.
John is one of the most generous, kind hearted people we know. He truly would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it…he may have even done so already.
John is the Executive Director of HIV/AIDS Regional Services (HARS) and has been for 25 years. We can’t even count the number of people who have been helped because of John’s kind heart. Not only our clients, but anyone who comes into HARS and who needs help. Actually, anyone who needs help whose path crosses John’s is likely to receive assistance from this man.
Just yesterday John sat with an elderly woman who had fallen in front of the post office. He helped her up, got her a chair from the post office, mailed her letters, called her husband (when she wouldn’t agree to him calling an ambulance), offered to walk to emerg at Hotel Dieu to get a wheelchair and sat with her for an hour and a half while waiting for her husband to arrive. All of this while dealing with a huge amount of stress at home.
John’s partner Rob was diagnosed with throat and neck cancer last fall. Rob has since undergone many sessions of chemo and radiation which resulted in a number of nasty side effects, but which unfortunately didn’t take care of the tumor. Rob has recently undergone neck dissection surgery after which they did not receive the positive news they were hoping for.
In addition, for years John has taken care of his adult brother who has a serious disability. Bobby lives with John and Rob…they are a family. Bobby’s condition means he is unable to walk, or take care of himself in any way. This has left John and Rob to manage Bobby’s care 24/7 including lifting him whenever he needs out of his bed.
They have managed very well, until now.
As a result of the surgery, Rob can no longer lift Bobby. John too now has some health challenges that makes moving Bobby very difficult. Bobby could live in a residential facility but as we said, they are family and they need to stay together, now more than ever. So, John looked into the cost of a lift to make moving Bobby possible. It is going to be over $5000.00. In addition, John is going to have to renovate the house to accommodate the lift as Bobby’s room isn’t big enough. In total, it will likely be around $25000.00 to get everything in a state where they can remain living together.
Once again, logic has gone out the window. While Bobby’s total costs of living could be covered in a facility (which would be huge compared to the cost of keeping him at home), there is no help from ODSP or the Assistive Devices Program to make John, Rob and Bobby’s home a space where they can all remain.
John has already maxed out his credit cards and has gone through his savings to ensure that Rob has had whatever he needed for his care, not to mention what Bobby has needed. He is out of money, and is under a LOT of stress trying to keep everything on track at work and at home.
I’m sure many of you reading this have been helped by John in one way or another. I know many of the staff here have benefitted from his generosity. Whether it was making a drive all the way to Toronto to pick up a staff member’s kid, or buying a brand new freezer when another staff member had cancer, or doing everything possible to keep another staff member with cancer (yes, cancer has hit hard at HARS in the last few years) on stable financial ground while she went through her treatment.
John has helped get abused women to safety, has bought pet food to distribute, has paid for people’s groceries, has taken care of funeral expenses and so, so much more…I could fill the page with stories! John just doesn’t say no when someone really needs something. He is the definition of “generous to a fault!”
This man with a heart of gold now needs our help. Surely the good karma he has been putting out over and over and over through the years will mean something now in his time of need.
The HARS staff really want to help and would like to give this family whatever they need, but (I’m not sure if you know this, but not for profit social service workers don’t get paid too well!) we can’t afford it on our own. So, we are asking for your help. John agreed to a Go Fund Me page (grudgingly) and the HARS staff is now asking you to go there and PLEASE give what you can. Larger amounts are definitely appreciated, but even smaller amounts will make a big difference.
Please feel free to spread this request, we’d be grateful. Also if you are comfortable, we welcome you to share your stories in the comment section below with some of the ways John has helped you over the years- we know there are many!
On behalf of John, Rob, Bobby and all the staff at HARS, thank you from the bottom of our hearts! #givejohnalift