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Wolf Klassen and Sally Ischiropoulos

#MGH Pay it Forward: Wolf Klassen and Sally Ischiropoulos

The #MGHPayitForward series highlights the many moments of thanks within our community. Whether it is for feedback, teamwork, or a small gesture of kindness, gratitude is everywhere. We follow the flow of gratitude at Michael Garron Hospital (MGH), Toronto East Health Network as our community shares stories about their peers.

By Isabel Terrell

Our first of many gratitude stories begins with Wolf Klassen, Vice President of program support at Michael Garron Hospital (MGH), Toronto East Health Network.

Wolf and Sally Ischiropoulos, manager of diagnostic imaging, sit in a circle of navy blue chairs on a Tuesday morning. There’s warmth in the room, naturally, because that’s what happens during a conversation simply dedicated to saying ‘thanks.’

Wolf began his gratitude journey three years ago. He redefined his relationship with gratitude as a way of reflecting on what he has, and connecting with his family. He sends a text to his family once a night, recounting three things he feels grateful for that day.

One of the moments Wolf is grateful for is the care his mother received from Sally and the Diagnostic Imaging (DI) team during several visits within the past year.

“I’ve seen you, not just with my mother, but with so many other patients. You’re so nurturing and caring. It really speaks to our values of compassion, courage, accountability and integrity,” says Wolf. “To me, that is what you’re exemplifying.”

Sally has worked at MGH for the past 15 years, 10 of which have been in the DI department. She began in a more clerical role, but dedication and passionate hard work brought her to her current leadership position. In conversation, Wolf adds that he often overhears Sally’s communication with her team while he’s walking through the hospital- she is always working with her staff to problem solve and make their days better.

Both Wolf and Sally agree that the need to visit the DI unit can cause a lot of anxiety and uncertainty for patients, and their families. In an environment where many are feeling vulnerable, Sally finds purpose in creating joy in any way she can for hospital visitors.

“My biggest motivation is making people happy,” says Sally, adding that it’s like “winning the lottery” when she can connect with patients to make their time at the hospital easier.

Wolf’s mother was very anxious when she had to schedule more than one DI appointment, but she was greeted so warmly that she still talks about her appointment, and Sally, with him.

“Sally and the entire DI team made her feel good, and that made me feel good,” says Wolf. “It’s really rewarding to create a service that is always improving and providing better service to our community.”

“I got to pick her brain about Wolf a little, so it worked out for both of us,” Sally joked.  

Do you have an MGH gratitude story to share? Use #MGHPayitForward and tag @MGHToronto, or contact @email

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