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Healthy Start, Key Support Inspire Nursing Career

May 1, 2011

Healthy Start, Key Support Inspire Nursing Career

“It was 22 years ago that Melinda Charbonneau’s mother spent two months on bed rest at a London, Ontario hospital, before giving birth to three, healthy 6-pound babies.

Today, Melinda, the oldest of the triplets, is venturing into the health care field that was so crucial to their healthy start in life. Melinda has graduated from Western’s collaborative nursing program and is starting her career on the surgical floor of University Hospital in London.

“Being a nurse contains everything I’ve ever wanted in a profession,” says Melinda. “People, teamwork, service-oriented, health, teaching, knowledge of the sciences, and respect and dignity for all human beings.”

Melinda says being at Western was the best of her life experiences and in her first week of school she had absolutely no doubt that it was the right place and program. However, if it weren’t for a very generous donor, Melinda says her schoolwork would have suffered and her career may have taken a different path.

“Coming from a family of five children, all attending post-secondary institutions, my parents could not afford to pay for all of our education,” says Melinda who received the Audrey Metzler Award. “My strong determination to excel in my studies, combined with the program’s heavy course load prevented me from being able to hold a part-time job. Without this award I would have had to sacrifice valuable nursing knowledge for a minimum wage job.”

The Audrey Metzler Award is one of three awards created by an anonymous alumnus in memory of the love of his life and partner of 65 years, Audrey Metzler, a former Royal Canadian Army Nurse. Upon his recent passing, he left a bequest to boost the value of the three awards and create new awards as well. Having benefitted from a donor’s support as a Western student himself, he hoped to return the favour in memory of Audrey.

“Many graduates have pride and appreciation for the school they attended, but few actually actively show appreciation by donating,” says Melinda. “This is a very noble trait. Without the awards and donations of donors like these, many individuals would not be able to have a university experience, and would not be able to obtain all of the education they need.”

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