Jeanine McLean loved life in northern Ontario. It was the final year of her nursing program at Sudbury’s Cambrian College and as an RN she’d soon be able to give back to others the care she herself had received as a little girl. Challenged by a congenital heart defect, she survived numerous hospital stays starting with pacemaker surgery at the young age of two-and-a-half. Reaching adulthood, Jeanine had a natural empathy for children who had heart disease. She worked hard to become a cardiac nurse to care for young patients like she had been cared for at Sick Kids Hospital.
A beautiful, young lady with a huge smile and sparkling blue eyes, Jeanine had a great sense of humour and cheerful disposition. Apart from her nursing studies she enjoyed music, drawing and painting. All was going well until an unexpected tragedy struck. During Jeanine’s final year of nursing at Cambrian College, she slipped away peacefully in her sleep at age 24, caused by a rare reaction to her pacemaker.
Jim McLean, Jeanine’s father, experienced the soul-crushing pain of losing a child. “It never goes away, but you learn to better cope with it.” To honor his daughter, Jim has aimed to raise money for the Cambrian College bursary in his daughter’s name, which originated by Jeanine’s fellow nursing students.
Jim, a Harley riding member of ‘Guardians of the Children Motorcycle Club’, an organization that protects abused and bullied children, was the host of the first ever motorcycle ride/poker run to support Jeanine’s bursary. It took place September 13th, starting and ending at Chuck’s Roadhouse at Upper Middle and Appleby. The route included Fergus and Orangeville and a small parkette in between. At each stop, participants picked up another playing card toward their poker hand. Returning to Chuck’s Roadhouse, the gang enjoyed a silent auction, prizes, a cheeseburger lunch and finishing the poker hand.
Money raised went to help nursing students with medical-related issues whether physical, emotional, or mental. Jim feels by contributing to the bursary he has found a way to keep his precious daughter’s dream alive.
Tax-deductible donations can still be made by contacting the Cambrian College Foundation at www.cambriancollege.ca/memorialride. The goal is to raise $15,000 so Jeanine’s bursary will become a permanent yearly endowment from Cambrian College.
Although Jim can no longer be with his daughter physically, he knows that her spirit and her dream lives on in those who will care for little people, offering comfort at their hospital bedsides.
By Leslie Styles