Family honours Island nurse for donation of shelter in Toronto

LITTLE CURRENT—It’s not every day that someone unselfishly helps a stranger without the desire for recognition (or financial gain), but that is just what Little Current nurse Victor Ching did earlier this summer when he offered the use of his Toronto condo to Ryan and Karrie Graham and their seven-month-old baby girl Harper who required chemotherapy treatment at Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital.

“I work with Harper’s great aunt Judy (Ferguson) here at the hospital,” explained Mr. Ching, who is originally from Toronto but who has been working at the Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC) in Little Current for the last eight months. “Judy was one of the people who mentored me here and she mentioned in passing what was happening with Harper and since my condo was free, I offered it to her family.”

Mr. Ching was modest during a party that was held in his honour last week at MHC, organized by Harper’s great grandparents Georgina and Godfrey Lovelace of Little Current and Ms. Ferguson.

“What Victor has done means so much to our family,” Ms. Lovelace told The Expositor. “Ryan and Karrie are just a young couple starting out and Harper is their first child. When they found out they would have to travel from their home in Sault Ste. Marie to Toronto for Harper’s treatments, they didn’t know what they would do. It would have been so expensive for them to have to stay in hotels and Victor generously loaning his home to them was a huge help.”

During the party, the radio was tuned into 100.7 The Island when a surprise dedication was made to Victor of Terri Clark’s song ‘Unsung Hero’ by Harper’s family.

“Victor really has been an unsung hero to our family,” said Ms. Lovelace, as she, her husband and Ms. Ferguson presented Mr. Ching with a Manitoulin blanket. “He deserved recognition for what he has done for us.”

“Thank you so much,” responded Mr. Ching. “I was happy I could help. Harper is a really cute, bright baby and I hope she gets the help she needs.”

Harper was born on January 8. In early June, a small lump was noticed forming on her right forearm. Harper was diagnosed with infantile fibrosarcoma, a cancerous tumor that originates in the connective tissue found at the ends of bones of the arms or legs and then spreads to other surrounding tissues.

Since the end of June, Harper has been undergoing chemotherapy treatment in both Sudbury and Toronto in the hopes of shrinking the tumor prior to surgery to have it removed this fall.

“Harper has now finished her treatments in Toronto and has just has two more in Sudbury,” explained Mr. Graham during a phone interview on Monday. “When we met with Victor at his condo in June, we assumed we would have to pay rent, but he just said ‘no, I’m happy someone is able to use it.’ He was a complete stranger and for him to do something like that for us, without wanting anything in return, meant so much to us. Harper will be having her surgery in late September or earlier October and Victor even called the other day to say that if his condo is available, we can stay there again. He has just been so generous.”

There will be a benefit for Harper at the Grand Gardens in Sault Ste. Marie on Wednesday, September 4 to help raise funds to help alleviate some of the financial stresses of the Graham family, such as travel costs.

For more information or to donate, contact 705-368-2206 or Larissa Graham at 705-949-4369.

Robin Burridge