Remembering Colleen

Colleen Angel Horbay (December 10, 1934- September 1, 2020)

In 1956, Colleen Horbay went into the Children’s Hospital Nursing program. From the moment she began nursing, everyone knew she was someone special.

An encounter with a 10-year-old girl named Genevieve inspired Colleen to extend her passion for helping sick and injured children beyond her day-to-day job. Genevieve had leukemia and told Colleen, “Nurse, I don’t want to die”. Years later, Colleen reflected, “Our dear Genevieve did pass, but these days, kids with leukemia are being saved all because of pediatric research and money raised by organizations like the Children’s Hospital Foundation. I think of Genevieve as the reason I do what I do.”

What Colleen did is serve with a lifelong passion and dedication to numerous organizations throughout the community, and as a Children’s Hospital volunteer for more than 50 years!

An original Children’s Hospital Book Market volunteer, Colleen was also one of the founders of the Teddy Bears’ Picnic. She volunteered on the Children’s Hospital Guild Council, CHTV (Children’s Hospital’s television channel), Peter Pan Club (a group that raised funds for specific unit requests), the Foundation board and numerous committees. Colleen was chair of the Children’s Hospital Book Market board twice (1979-1980 and 1986-1987), and was instrumental in bringing forward major changes to how Book Market operated. Under her leadership, the Children’s Hospital Book Market supported a hospital food cart program that gives kids some control during their hospital stay: while they can’t choose their treatments, they can choose the food they would like to eat.

To the staff of the Foundation, Colleen was always a bright light. She had a sense of humour like no other. Her speeches would move you and she loved to have a good time. She had a heart of gold and a spine of steel, addressing hard issues and fighting for what she felt was right for the kids.

Her contributions to helping sick and injured kids are immeasurable and we will miss her. We extend deepest sympathies to her loving husband Vincent, and her children, grand-children, great-grandchildren, extended family and friends who loved her.

Read this 2015 feature on Colleen to learn more about this devoted volunteer. Donations in Colleen’s honour are gratefully accepted.