Donor and nurse celebrates lifetime connection with HSC Children's

Surgery when she was just one year old had such a powerful impact on Mary Lou Green and her family that 20 years later she was inspired to become a nurse and work at that same hospital – the HSC Winnipeg Children’s Hospital. Fifty years later, she is still working at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) helping children just like she was taken care of back in 1971.

Mary Lou was born with craniosynostosis, which caused her skull’s sutures to fuse together prematurely and resulted in her having no fontanels (soft spots). Surgery was done to create a suture line, providing her brain with the space it needed to grow and develop normally.

“My parents talked about it all the time. They said the nurses and doctors were phenomenal with me there,” says Mary Lou, recalling her dad’s story about walking the halls of the hospital with her mother, and anxiously waiting news about their daughter, while knowing she was in good hands.

Even though she can’t remember it first-hand, hearing these family stories growing up left a lasting impression on her and created a desire to help other children. Mary Lou decided to become a nurse, with the hope of one day working at the HSC Winnipeg Children’s Hospital. In 2000, she landed her dream job in the NICU and is thrilled to be able to make a lasting impression on children today, saying she feels it’s partly to pay back what the hospital and staff did for her and her family all those years ago.

“They’re survivors. Kids are amazing and tough and insightful and lovely. I just love them,” says Mary Lou of her job.

“It really shaped me as a person, just working with different children over the years especially and seeing the impact it has on them.”

Mary Lou commends the hospital for looking beyond just the physical ailments and offering various resources to kids and their families, like Child Life programs such as music therapy, and spiritual care.

“The hospital just has a really friendly atmosphere. That’s been there all along. That was back when I started in nursing school in the early ‘90s, back when I was a little kid, the way my parents describe it, and that’s now,” says the proud hospital employee.

Mary Lou is also a regular donor and volunteers with the Children’s Hospital Guild of Manitoba. Plus, she has volunteered at past Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba events, like the Teddy Bear’s Picnic.

“The kids are so important to us. They’re important to all of us and the parents, and seeing them go through… I just want to give them something just to make their lives easier,” says Mary Lou on why she donates.

“The Foundation has touched so many lives and it’s made such a difference for people. We’re fortunate to have the Foundation,” says Green, who is eager to see what the future holds as resources are enhanced and added.

The Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba is celebrating 50 years of community impact. To become a monthly donor, click here. To learn more about volunteering with the Children’s Hospital Guild of Manitoba, click here.