Thoughtfully Improving Healthcare: Terry Swanson’s Legacy Gift


Leaving a legacy giftTHUNDER BAY – Healthbeat – Eleven years ago, Terry Swanson was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Thankfully, he is now cancer free. The experience really opened his eyes up to the type of quality cancer care – and healthcare in general – we have right here in Northwestern Ontario.

Terry started radiation treatment in September 2001, travelling from his home in Nakina to the old Cancer Centre. While in treatment he stayed at the Amethyst House, a “home away from home” like the Tbaytel Tamarack House is today at the Health Sciences Centre.

“The staff at both the Amethyst House and the Centre itself were very good, very understanding and cheerful. That made the stay that much easier, having people you could talk to,” Terry said.

It was this level of care that prompted Terry to want to give something back and support cancer care. He has been a long-time supporter of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation’s Northern Cancer Fund, and recently added legacy gift in his will.

“I figured that if they cure me, I have a responsibility to do something in turn,” Terry said. “I feel it’s a moral obligation.”

Terri Hrkac, who is the Director of Major and Planned Giving at the Health Sciences Foundation, helps donors like Terry understand exactly what legacy giving is, and most importantly, how their gift can make a difference in the healthcare needs of their community.

“Leaving a charitable legacy from your estate sends a powerful message,” Hrkac said. “It shows not just your generosity, but also that you are proud of your life accomplishments and want to share in the growth of a community.”

The legacy that is left behind will affect their family’s needs and wants, Hrkac added. The family needs are reflected within the community, as a community needs great healthcare, education, and strong social organizations to be vibrant and supportive.

This can take place in many ways, and having a strong understanding of your portfolio will allow the donor to create the most reflective legacy, taking advantage of all the tax benefits available.

Terry has seen a lot of changes to the healthcare system over the years. Although he was born in Port Arthur, his family moved to Hornepayne and then Nakina before he was one years old. His father worked on the railway lines for CN, a tradition that Terry followed first working in Stratford, Ont. and then moving back to Nakina to raise a family of his own. He was always civic-minded, helping the town thrive in areas like education.

Today, Terry is retired – but his sense of community is not.

“Being on the school board for 35 years gave me an appreciation for doing the best for other people,” Terry said. A legacy gift to the Health Sciences Foundation is just that – a way to provide a lasting legacy so that future generations in Northwestern Ontario can have the best healthcare possible.

“It takes a noble person to plant a seed for a tree that will one day provide shade to those whom he may never meet.” Plant your seed today and help grow healthcare right here in Northwestern Ontario.

Call the Health Sciences Foundation directly at (807) 345-4673 or visit us online at for more information about legacy giving.

Terry Swanson (right, with Terri Hrkac) is now over 10 years cancer free. He said he wanted to include a legacy gift in his will as a way of giving back. “I figured that if they cure me, I have a responsibility to do something in turn.”

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Graham Strong has worked with clients in a number of different industries including healthcare, legal, PR, retail, software, IT, B2B companies, education, direct mail, and others.