For Ted Foreman, helping others is something that has always been a natural instinct.
“I just do it because I want to,” says Ted. “And I believe in it. I’ve been a giver all my life. That means collecting for Red Cross when I was a kid and collecting door-to-door donations for this and that.”
While Ted’s history of giving goes as far back as he can remember, he really got his start as a teenager with The Rotary Club of Winnipeg. Ted became a member of The Rotary Club of Fort Garry in 1962. The Rotary Club of Fort Garry just marked its 60th anniversary this year and Ted has been a member since the beginning.
“When I was 16 or 17, my father was a Rotarian and in those days there were father and son luncheons once a year just before Christmas,” recalls Ted. “I just couldn’t get over the fact that all of these extremely capable and smart business men were giving to people and charities. I thought, ‘Why are they giving away their money, what is that all about?’ I didn’t understand it then. But I sure do now. If they can do it, why can’t I?”
It is this spirit of giving that has stayed with Ted all of his life, and inspires him to continue to serve as a Rotary member to this day.
“It’s the comradery,” says Ted. “It’s the giving. Those are the two things that are most important.”
Ted and the group have supported a number of different organizations over the years, including Victoria Hospital Foundation, the Bruce Oake Foundation, and Knowles Centre to name just a few.
Ted generously volunteered his time as a board member of Victoria Hospital from 1992-2001 before joining the board of Victoria Hospital Foundation for a number of years beginning in 2001. It was during his time as a director on the Victoria Hospital board that his first wife, Heather, was diagnosed with colon cancer. Ted was by her side for 36 months of treatment before she sadly passed away in January 1994.
Soon after Heather’s passing, Ted established a fund in her memory to support a new Oncology Clinic at Victoria Hospital. The Buhler Cancer Centre opened its doors in 2008 with a private treatment room dedicated to Heather.
Over the years, Ted has remained a loyal supporter of Victoria Hospital. In 2005, he retired after 43 years with Investors Group, and instead of celebrating his remarkable career with a lavish party Ted chose to instead use this opportunity to help others. He asked past and present employees to honour his retirement with a gift to Victoria Hospital, and in turn raised $45,000 to support Oncology at our hospital. In that same year, Victoria Hospital Foundation also received a $20,000 gift for Oncology from the proceeds of a Rotary fundraising dinner.
In 2006, Ted hosted a breakfast table for our Foundation which raised over $7,000. Ted also allocated funds for the expansion of the Foundation’s memorial wall, allowing for the expansion of our Tribute program.
In 2012, Ted helped to establish a Women’s Oncology Wigs program with our Foundation in response to the growing need for high quality wigs and display cases to provide care and assistance for women facing cancer.
A few years after Heather’s passing, Ted met his second wife Lynne, who has been by his side for much of his philanthropy.
“I just admire him so much for what he does,” says Lynne. “I really do. I think he’s been amazing with his philanthropy and charity work. There’s not many people that do as much as he does. He’s also very supportive of his friends. If someone loses their wife or their brother or sister, he’s over there visiting or making a phone call or making a donation. I truly admire him for what he does.”
Ted has poured so much love into the community over the years, and following a recent hospital stay, Ted saw that love come back to him in a significant way. His notebook details numerous pages of phone messages from people reaching out to show their support for him.
“I would come home from the hospital and there would be like 8 or 10 messages, and as I’m returning messages there would be even more people calling,” says Lynne. “It was unreal.”
Despite the outpouring well wishes, Ted remains humble when reflecting on his impact on the community and the countless lives he has touched over the years.
“It’s not something I like talking about,” says Ted. “I try to do so much for so many, that I guess I’m appreciated.”
Most recently, Ted allocated over $72,000 to establish The Heather Foreman Miracle Garden Memorial Endowment with Victoria Hospital Foundation to support the Victoria Hospital Miracle Garden, a healing space of rejuvenation and relaxation designed to nurture mental, physical, and spiritual health. The Miracle Garden wraps around the Buhler Cancer Centre, a place where Ted has invested so much over the years, offering patients receiving chemotherapy a private view of nature.
The interest from this endowment will be re-invested in the Miracle Garden annually to support the ongoing maintenance needs of this important community space today and in the future.
“I think it’s a wonderful idea,” says Lynne. “It’s a place where people can go to sit and reflect. A place of peace and calm. Maybe some of the patients that are coming for treatments might come out with their IV poles and sit in the Garden and it just gives them a peaceful place.”
In the decades since Ted’s first Rotary luncheon, his passion for helping others and dedication to his community is stronger than ever.
“I don’t think anyone can make that decision to help others unless they have a reason to, unless they are motivated to,” says Ted. “Do you want to do something for somebody, to help them through some difficult times? People need help. Through two marriages and four children, I have always felt that I wanted to do something to help someone else.”
You can help keep the miracles growing in our Miracle Garden with a gift to The Heather Foreman Miracle Garden Memorial Endowment.
Donate now to help ensure our Miracle Garden remains a space of hope and healing for generations to come.