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Alex and Grant

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“I really believe that when you give you also receive, because it makes you feel good in your heart. So when Grant leaves to do another volunteer shift at Casey House, I say ‘Go ahead! Go to Casey House!’ because I know it makes him feel good, too.”

-Alex Salanga, Donor

Alex Salanga and Dr. Grant Maxted have been supporters of Casey House for more than 25 years. Without fail, they contribute as donors each year, and they have continued to be familiar faces at all our fundraising events.

An anaesthesiologist at a Toronto hospital, Grant also enjoys the alternate perspective on health care delivery that he gets volunteering at the reception desk at 9 Huntley Street on occasional evenings and weekends. At Casey House, he sees first-hand the difference that donor support of Casey House makes in the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in Toronto.

“So many clients have experienced the sort of adversity that can affect your social skills and your ability to cope with daily life,” reflects Grant. “And when you’re sick and depressed – nobody’s at their best. I see clients struggle with this. But at Casey House, people are shown acceptance and treated with care and compassion, no matter what their circumstances. I know that this approach has a positive effect because I see that trust build. Clients start to feel better about themselves, and this leads to treating their bodies and their health better. So their recovery is enhanced by that positive attitude, by being accepted and not judged.”

The special perseverance and dedication of our care team is also a quality of Casey House that Grant and Alex are proud to support. About one client who was extremely ill and completely immobilized in bed at 9 Huntley street, Grant recalls, “To the observer, there was no hope. It seemed certain he would die any day. But the staff of Casey House kept working with him. They didn’t give up home despite all sorts of complications he was facing. A few weeks passed between my shifts, and the next time I was in, I thought of him and I asked about him, expecting to hear he had died. But he hadn’t. Not too long after that, one of the staff members mentioned that they had been downtown, and had seen him strolling across the street, looking great, like he didn’t have a care in the world. He was just out there, living his life again. It was truly remarkable.”

Says Alex, “I’m glad that good that we have Casey House here to help, because a lot of people have nobody else to turn to. Casey House is there to take them in and help them out. That’s why Grant and I give whatever we can to help out with the operation of Casey House.  HIV is a very difficult illness, and I know that it must be even harder to be sick if you’re alone. I knew someone many years ago who was cared for at Casey House near the end of his life, and his entire family and friends had just turned away from him because of the stigma. And even though we weren’t close friends, I went to visit him, just to talk about a lot of nonsense over tea, and make him laugh and help him to feel better. He was a little surprised when I got there, I think. But it made him happy, because he really had nobody. Lots of people face that, even today.”

Alex adds, “It makes me feel good to give what money I can to Casey House, and Grant and I like to attend the events like Art With Heart and show our support. I really believe that when you give you also receive, because it makes you feel good in your heart. So when Grant leaves to do another volunteer shift at Casey House, I say ‘Go ahead! Go to Casey House!’ because I know it makes him feel good, too.”