490 new pillows at Ross for patient comfort

By Lindsay Advocate

Pillow fights are not what one would expect to hear about in a hospital finance department. But over 25 years as Vice President of Resources at Ross Memorial Hospital, Leo Boyle was well aware of their impact: how pillows migrated through the hospital, how some units were in constant need of them, and how they were worn and regularly needed replacing.

It was a problem he not only witnessed as the person overseeing the hospital’s budget – but as a patient. Leo suffered from Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia, and later in life – cancer. In the days and weeks he spent in multiple hospitals, he and his family discovered the pillow fights weren’t restricted to the Ross. Pillows were either thin or uncomfortable, or not to be had at all.

Leo’s widow, Carmen, recalls one stay at a Toronto hospital: “Leo’s nurse couldn’t find a pillow for him anywhere, so she stuffed a pillow case full of memory foam remnants and used that. He was so grateful. We started joking that if we ever came into money, we’d buy pillows for patients, because the one time you really want to be comfortable is when you’re in hospital.

Thanks to those who made donations to the Ross Memorial Hospital Foundation in Leo’s memory last October, the Boyle family is helping to do just that.

On Oct. 1, in a delivery that resembled a billowy cloud, 490 new pillows arrived at the Ross Memorial Hospital. Next year, another 490 pillows will be delivered, ensuring every patient is as comfortable as possible.

“The kids and I were touched to know that the donations made in Leo’s memory could go toward something that was so important to him,” said Carmen. “This gift has a history behind it.”

It’s a gift that has touched Leo’s Ross Family too, where his smiling face and funny stories are missed.

“When people think of hospital equipment, they typically think of items like stretchers, IV poles and heart monitors,” said Erin Coons, RMH foundation executive director. “But something as small as a comfortable pillow can make a big difference in a patient’s stay. We’re happy to be able to match this memorial gift with a need that’s so meaningful to Leo’s family. It’s a gift that comforts everyone involved. And knowing what a warm and caring person Leo was, we know he’d love this.”

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