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Above: Former patient and current volunteer Charlene Girt with grateful staff members from Sinai Health Foundation

If Charlene Girt looks familiar, it may be because the ever-cheerful Sinai Health Foundation volunteer is a mainstay in Mount Sinai Hospital’s lobby where she has represented the Grateful Hearts program for the better part of a decade. Having been a patient herself, Charlene understands the gratitude patients feel and their desire to want to give back.

“Sometimes it’s the surgeon who healed you, and sometimes it’s the porter who made you smile,” she says. “Grateful Hearts provides an opportunity to let those people know their efforts are appreciated.”

Grateful Hearts is a Foundation-led program that provides patients and families with a meaningful way to acknowledge a member of the Mount Sinai care team. Once a donation is made to recognize them, the staff member receives a thank-you card and beautiful pin. Some staff members have collected many over the years and wear them as badges of honour.

Charlene’s dedication and enthusiasm have helped the Grateful Hearts program reach an incredible milestone. Over $1 million has been raised to support research and care at Mount Sinai. A celebratory event was held in the lobby on Thursday which also happened to be Charlene’s birthday.

“Whenever I walk up University Avenue and see Mount Sinai, it just makes me smile,” says Charlene. “I really do love this hospital. It is absolutely the best.”

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