This article originally appeared in a special report from The Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health.
Kathleen Grimes and her husband Ersin Ozerdinc, owners of Site Preparation Limited, believe that giving back to the community is an integral part of being a responsible citizen.
Kathleen’s philanthropic support began in 1986 when she became involved in the family business. She and Ersin have given back to charities that resonate with her family ever since.
“We have a son that lives with schizophrenia, so that’s one of the reasons we began giving to The Royal,” says Kathleen.
Kathleen has been a loyal and generous supporter of The Royal since 2012 and she played a critical role in the establishment of The Royal’s Brain Imaging Centre at the Institute of Mental Health Research.
Kathleen’s son, Devrim, has had a long journey of recovery since he first sought help back in 2012.
Thanks to the help of doctors at The Royal, Devrim is now at a point where he understands the illness and has come to terms with it.
“The Royal is the pillar of hope and beacon of hope for everyone suffering from mental illness in Ottawa,” says Kathleen’s son Devrim. “All of the physicians at The Royal really care, they love what they do and they always have the patients best interest at heart at all times.”
“One of the things I feel is of crucial importance, is educating not just the community, but educating the professionals - the school teachers, nurses, doctors, to be able to identify mental health issues sooner than later,” says Kathleen.
In more recent years, Kathleen has become involved in helping to fund an innovative, new resource team through The Royal’s Substance Use and Concurrent Disorders (SUCD) program.
Kathleen’s interest in supporting The Royal’s SUCD program emerged after one of her close friends lost their son to an accidental drug overdose, resulting from a lack of treatment for an undiagnosed mental illness and substance use disorder.
Through her support of The Royal’s SUCD program resource team, Kathleen hopes to help The Royal build capacity in our community by providing education and training to other agencies that are working with concurrent disorder clients.
“Hope is the most important thing that people can have,” says Kathleen. “You can never give up hope…never. And at the end of the day, The Royal is that pillar of hope.”
LEARN MORE HERE: bit.ly/PillarofHope