Stories - Community Champions

Volunteer Spotlight: Donna Askew

The Children’s Hospital Foundation could not exist without the dedication and generosity of people like Donna Askew. Many years ago Donna discovered that helping sick kids feel better was her passion, and she has been giving back ever since.

“I came to the Children’s Hospital School of Nursing in 1965,” recalls Donna. “Not long after, I began my association with the Children’s Hospital Guilds as a volunteer for Bookmarket, doing book pickups while I was still in training.”

Upon graduation, Donna was employed at Children’s Hospital from 1968 to 2017, working mostly Neonatal Intensive Care and the Neonatal Transport Team. She also worked casually in Children’s Clinic and WRHA Immunization Programs from 1997 to 2017. Amazingly, after having a family of her own, Donna would use her spare time to volunteer and give back to the Children’s Hospital.

“When I had my four sons it was always foremost in my mind that we were very fortunate to only have to avail the services of Children’s Hospital for a few minor ailments,” says Donna. “Knowing Children’s Hospital was there became more important with each passing year. Making care as pleasant and pain free as possible was always an important priority.” Giving back was also one of Donna’s priorities, showcased by her tireless work with the Children’s Hospital Guild of Manitoba (CHGM), generating funds for programs and equipment at Children’s Hospital.

“Our CHGM is a wonderful group of 130 dedicated members that, through many philanthropic endeavours, raise funds and awareness of how important our Children’s Hospital is to us all,” says Donna. “The friendships and camaraderie are a special part of my Guild relationship.”

Donna’s contributions to the Children’s Hospital are many and varied, spanning several years. Her outstanding service includes volunteering for and organizing countless events, as well as sitting on a multitude of committees and boards. Donna served on the board of CHGM for several years, receiving the Teddy Award in 2002. Thrilled and humbled to receive such an honour, for Donna it has always been about the kids.

“My love of Children’s Hospital and the children in my care has always been the root of my association with the CHGM,” says Donna. “It is most important to do the very best I can for the children receiving care, making them well, with the least amount of suffering.”

Fundraising options through the CHGM include Sew4Kids, Nearly New Shop, Children’s Hospital Gift Shop, Fashion Show, Bake & Trinket Sales, Goldeyes 50/50 ticket sales, Teddy Bears’ Picnic and the Bookmarket, which was started by the Guild over 60 years ago and continues to be a major source of funding. There is also always a need for new volunteers.

“While monthly monetary donations are most welcome and very much needed,” remarks Donna, “none of what the Guild does would be possible without the work of dedicated volunteers. Our Guild is always open to accepting new members for as much time as you are able to commit.”

Having dedicated her life to helping sick kids, Donna knows first-hand just how important and necessary these funds are. “Being on the frontlines, it is ever obvious to me that all of the care and research necessary for the children is not without cost,” says Donna. “It is my mission to help raise these funds. Every dollar can help make a difference!”

Through years of service and dedication, Donna wouldn’t change a thing. “Our Guild strives tirelessly in many ways to support the Children’s Hospital that is so near and dear to all of us and I am so proud to be a part of this work.”

Bear hugs to Donna for finding her passion to help sick kids feel better! If you want to be like Donna, become a volunteer and see how you too can make a difference in the lives of sick kids at Children’s Hospital.