Remembering a Loved One and Giving Hope to Others with Cancer

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Merv & Diane Redman Family Fund

Ask Merv Redman to describe the first time he ever saw his wife Diane, and it's clear he still has every detail memorized. There was the chance encounter in her law firm's foyer, the immediate sparks and a stumble that made her blush. 

Merv is quick to admit he never stopped trying to get her to blush during the 37 happy years of their marriage. 

"We were a perfect match. When there's talk about soul mates - although that's such a corny phrase - that was us," he says now from his home. "We were frick and frack. We made each other better somehow."

But when a small cough eventually led to a melanoma skin cancer diagnosis, Diane found herself away from the golf courses she loved and at Grand River Hospital's Regional Cancer Centre in Kitchener, Ont. Between x-rays, radiology and immunotherapy treatments, the couple came to realize that they wanted to help ensure others also continued to get the exceptional care Diane received at the hospital. 

"Everybody was just outstanding and she said, 'I need help and there are other people who need help. Maybe I can make a difference,'" Merv says. 

Yet it wasn't until she was moved to a hospice in Guelph, that the plan was ironed out. Merv and his sister, Bev Middlemass, were sitting in the room considering whether to offer the hospital a large donation or to create a fund through The KWCF that would continue to allocate funds in perpetuity. Although Diane had been quiet in bed beside them that day, at the mention of working with The Foundation she suddenly perked up and uttered, "yes...yes!"

The Merv and Diane Redman Family Fund was created. 

Today, Merv is working with The KWCF to determine exactly how the money will be used. He is considering supporting professional development for oncology nurses, and making another donation to grow the Fund's ability to make a bigger impact. 

"It's a test to see if our thinking makes sense and if the funds can be used in a logical, positive kind of way," he says, mentioning that this test should give the information he needs to decide whether to continue down the path or tweak the fund allocation somehow. 

Ultimately, he's confident that setting up the fund with The KWCF will ensure his philanthropic goals will reflect the "work hard, play hard" life he and Diane led together. 

"Diane and I were blessed," he says. "We worked hard, but we lived our life like we were retired every day. So in a sense we've been lucky that we can give back now."