Saint Elizabeth celebrates the human spirit: Innovative 'Hope and Happiness' movement earns prestigious national award

MARKHAM, ON, June 23, 2015 /CNW/ - The Canadian College of Health Leaders (CCHL) presented Saint Elizabeth with the 'Celebrating the Human Spirit Award' at the National Awards Gala in Charlottetown, PEI. The health organization's Hope and Happiness movement was recognized for acts of caring and kindness and its impact in inspiring others. The award was sponsored by Stericycle Canada.

"We know our employees do little extra things for clients every day, and we wanted to both recognize their efforts and encourage others to join in," said Rheta Fanizza, Senior Vice President.  "We are honoured to accept this award on behalf of the Saint Elizabeth team - all 8,000 of us!"

Saint Elizabeth's #HopeAndHappiness campaign spread quickly through social media and gained traction with stories about how its nurses, personal support workers, therapists and support staff make people smile through random acts of kindness. To give the movement early momentum, Saint Elizabeth gave each employee 25 'Hope and Happiness' dollars with the concept of paying it forward.

"I hope this initiative will encourage others to spread hope and happiness.  It is amazing to see what's possible with the power of people. I am so proud to be affiliated with such an amazing group," said Shirlee Sharkey, CEO.  "Viewed collectively, these little things, like buying coffee or bringing someone a birthday card, are not little at all - they make a big difference."

Here are some of the other ways Saint Elizabeth staff spread hope and happiness:

  • A service coordinator from Barrie teamed up with her supervisor to create 'chemo relief kits' that included a range of comfort items for cancer patients who were going through treatment.
  • A personal support worker in London purchased sewing supplies so she could assist clients with basic mending projects - in one case, she hemmed an elderly woman's pyjama bottoms to help reduce the risk of a fall and made a little teddy bear with the leftover scraps of material.
  • A group of staff from Kingston teamed up to prepare and deliver home-cooked holiday meals for isolated seniors and low-income families.

Watch the Elizabeth cartoon that inspired the Hope and Happiness movement.

About Saint Elizabeth
Saint Elizabeth is a national health care provider that has been opening the door to new possibilities and care experiences for more than a century. Recognized as Canada's largest social enterprise, we employ 8,000 people and visit 18,000 clients every day.  Through the Saint Elizabeth Research Centre, our Health Career Colleges and the Saint Elizabeth Foundation, we are helping to make the future of health care brighter and stronger. Learn more at or find us on Twitter at @StElizabethSEHC.

SOURCE Saint Elizabeth Health Care

Image with caption: "Saint Elizabeth's Hope and Happiness movement was recognized for acts of caring and kindness and its impact in inspiring others. Pictured [L to R] are: Ray Racette, President & CEO, CCHL; Courtenay Casaccio, SVP/Country Manager Canada, Stericycle; Madonna Gallo, Head of Public Voice, SE; Rheta Fanizza, SVP National Operations, SE; Glen Chenard, Advanced Practice Consultant, SE; Nancy Lefebre, SVP and Chief Clinical Executive, SE; Brian Schmidt, Chair, CCHL. (CNW Group/Saint Elizabeth Health Care)". Image available at:

For further information:

Media contact: 
Madonna Gallo, Head of Public Voice 

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