Jim McQueen and his wife, Pat, had a long bucket list of countries they wanted to visit together. In 2008, two weeks before Pat died of cancer, the pair managed to visit the final country on that list—Russia. Pat had been fighting cancerous brain tumours for 15 years. Jim says that those 15 years of life would not have been possible without the care they received at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH).
“We saw the world because of the doctors here,” Jim says, looking towards the doors of VGH. “Earlier on, her length of treatment after surgery would be 11 days and in the last few years before she passed, treatment would only take three days, so we had that extra time together.”
Since 1994, Jim and Pat have donated thousands of dollars to VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation. When Pat passed, her $50,000 life insurance policy was specifically given to support cancer research and education. Jim has also left a gift in his will, in support of neuro-oncology development, to continue Pat’s legacy and to provide hope for families who are facing similar illnesses. Since Pat’s passing, Jim continues to be a generous donor and volunteer. Three or four times a week, he drives cancer patients to treatment appointments in Vancouver, Abbotsford and Surrey.
Jim is also a cancer survivor and says that he feels good donating his time and money to a health care system that has helped him and his wife so much.
“When my wife had cancer, volunteer drivers took her to the hospital and they really helped her—I wanted to do that,” the 67-year-old says. “I’m doing this in her honour.”