A lifetime commitment to caring

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Erane Bocking is caring with extraordinary kindness at Toronto’s Humber River Hospital (HRH).

She’s been doing it for almost 50 years.

As a proud and hardworking volunteer – one of the longest serving volunteers in the Hospital’s history – Bocking has created a home at Humber River; devoting many decades to fundraising, giving generously to patients and families and assisting staff and physicians in remarkable ways.

“Humber River Hospital is my family and I have so many memories and friends here,” explains Bocking, who has lived in the HRH community – in the same house – since 1964. “I remember Humber River Hospital at Jane Street and Finch Avenue (then, the former York-Finch Hospital) being built in the late 1960s. It was a hole in the ground and I used to walk over to see the progress. I became a volunteer before the building was finished and I’m still here.”

Still here and still giving her time and effort to many departments across the Humber River organization. After so many years, Bocking’s contributions continue to shine. She has served in many executive positions on the executive Board of Directors of the Volunteer Association, including a four-year term as President in the 1980s. Currently, Bocking is the leadership convener and trainer for Humber River’s Emergency Department – a role she’s held for close to 40 years and a role that showcases her commitment to teamwork, empathy and compassion for patients of all ages.

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As an outstanding fundraiser, Bocking spends her free time knitting sweaters, slippers and blankets that she sells at the Humber River’s annual craft sales – sales she organizes and runs every year with determination, enthusiasm and pride.  She also initiated and still coordinates an infant isolette fundraiser which donates 100 per cent of its earnings toward the purchase of medical equipment for the hospital.

“Erane Bocking has a long history of remarkable caring for the patients, families, staff and physicians at Humber River Hospital,” says Dr. Rueben Devlin, HRH President and CEO.  “She is a model for exemplary community service and is extremely valued for her contributions to our hospital.”

“We are grateful for all of the time, dedication and ongoing support that Erane has so selflessly shared,” says Louisa Ceci, Manager of HRH Volunteer Services.  “Through her commitment, leadership and caring she represents the heart of philanthropy and we are so very fortunate that she has shared – and continues to share – these gifts with Humber River Hospital.”

In February, Bocking’s longtime commitment to caring was honored when she received The Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award. As the Governor General’s website explains, the award “recognizes individuals who volunteer their time to help others and to build a smarter and more caring nation. The award also highlights the fine example set by these volunteers, whose compassion and engagement are so much a part of our Canadian character. It allows us to thank them for their contributions and for the positive impact they have had on the lives of others.”

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“I feel very privileged and honoured,” admits a humble Bocking. “I arrived in Canada from Greece when I was nineteen years-old and I did the best with what I had. I’m still trying to do the best I can by giving my time and effort to Humber River – my hospital. If everyone gives a little bit it makes a difference.”

In fact, Bocking’s entire family has joined her lead over the years in giving to Humber River.  Her daughter, Doreen – worked as a nurse for 25 years and still volunteers.  Her husband, Bob, also helps out by designing posters for the Hospital’s craft bazars and fundraising events.

“And my son Victor worked on the weekends polishing the hospital floors while he attended university,” adds Bocking.  “Giving to Humber River has been a family affair and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”

After almost five decades of service, helping patients and staff and inspiring so many others along the way, Bocking says she’s staying put.

“As long as I still have my mind and my legs I will be around,” she jokes.  “I’m planning to go to the new Humber River Hospital when it opens in October. It’s a little emotional for me to leave behind my history here but a new hospital means progress for our patients and that’s the most important.”