“Though it might not look like it from the outside, Michael Garron Hospital is a special place,” she says. “It’s not just the professional and exceptional care the incredible doctors, nurses and staff provide—it’s the amazing sense of community. It feels different when you walk the halls and interact with people here. This is a place where you’re not just a number—you feel valued.”
She and her brother Rick, owners of family-run DeClute Real Estate, feel strongly about the importance of giving back. Their community roots run deep, and they’re proud to support many local initiatives and programs. But they believe that it’s their support of MGH that allows them to make a wide-reaching and tangible impact.
“Being involved gives me hope for the future—that my efforts together with those of everyone else who supports the hospital—will make a real difference in the lives of many others”, Rochelle says. The team makes a donation to the hospital for every home sale through Union Realty Brokerage, and sends a letter to clients explaining what they’ve done. They’re consistently amazed by the number of people who have been affected by the hospital in a positive way.
A personal connection
And when it comes to knowing what the hospital needs, they speak from personal experience.
“A few years ago when my mother underwent surgery, my brother and I stayed with her at the hospital,” Rochelle remembers.” At that time, my brother and I agreed that if we ever had the means to do something, we would give back to the hospital and help spruce it up a little, so to speak.”
Local initiatives that make a difference
DeClute Realty is involved in a number of community events, including the upcoming DeClute Light up the Beach—an event that encourages people to visit Toronto’s boardwalk during the cold winter months. For the last 10 years, the DeClute Real Estate team has illuminated the boardwalk with 80,000 festive lights, with proceeds supporting MGHF to help people struggling with mental health and addiction. This year’s event will take place on Friday, November 30 beginning at 7 pm.
“We know that mental health programs are drastically underfunded and greatly misunderstood,” says Rick. “It’s going to take all of us to build a new hospital and change the way mental health care is delivered in our community.”
That’s why DeClute Realty was also involved in Kick the Stigma—Michael Garron Hospital Foundation’ s day-long soccer tournament and festival held in September of this year at Monarch Park, in support of building state-of-the-art mental health facilities at MGH.
For Rochelle, the cause is particularly meaningful.
“As the mother of an adult child who battles serious mental health and addiction issues, I struggle with feeling helpless,” she says. “But what I can do–and what gives me a real sense of empowerment – is to put my efforts toward supporting mental health and addiction services here at the hospital.”
Philanthropy isn’t just something they do
Giving back to the community is really just part of Rick and Rochelle’s DNA.
"Everyone has their own reasons to give," she explains. "For my brother and me, the importance of giving back is something that was instilled in us by our parents at a young age. I truly believe that nothing will give you back more than being able to impact your community and the people around you,."