Donor Story: Enid Blakeney
Enid Blakeney loved animals. And nature. At a time when families usually stayed put in one part of Canada, Enid grew up exploring the far North and then the Maritimes. Her mother was a petite and proper lady, always trying to get Enid to wear a dress. Her father, who was an RCMP officer in the days when Mounties resembled the popular image of Sergeant Preston (fur hat, dogsled and all), understood his tomboy daughter and urged patience. He often accompanied Enid on her explorations and taught her much about both animals and humans.
After working as a Physical Education teacher, Enid met Art Blakeney. Theirs was a long courtship, with World War II intervening. After the war they married, but never had children. Enid felt it would be unfair to have a child during the financial challenges as Art pursued his educational dreams. She settled on building a family filled with animals – dogs, sheep, horses; anything with four legs, really. But Art was to become one of the early Harvard MBA graduates and their investments in education were rewarded with much success.
Both of Enid’s parents and Art spent their last years in the Saanich Peninsula Hospital’s Extended Care Unit. As a loving daughter and spouse, she spent a lot of time “exploring” at SPH, growing to love it, too. When a multi-faith Chapel was proposed, Enid and Art discussed it and decided to help. Ultimately Enid took out a life insurance policy for $500,000 to fund approximately half the cost of the Chapel. Fortunately, hers was a long and very healthy life. The Foundation decided to “borrow” $500,000 out of its own reserves to get the multi-faith Chapel built, and Enid was thrilled to attend the opening.
When Enid died (well into her nineties) this past October, we were very sad to lose a good friend, as well as an ardent supporter of the Saanich Peninsula Hospital. And with the Chapel completed, her life insurance was not needed for that purpose. But we knew that she would want the money to be used for something that would benefit the community, particularly its older members. Last month, the Board dedicated Enid’s extraordinary gift to the CT Scanner campaign, an important diagnostic tool that will benefit hospital patients and residents, as well as the many members of the community who come to the hospital for diagnostic tests. Approximately 7,000 people per year make use of the hospital’s CT Scanner on both an in-patient and out-patient basis. The existing machine will be refurbished and sold. One of the radiologists says it could end up in a veterinarian’s office; something that would be the “icing on the cake” for Enid.