OTTAWA, ONTARIO, October 1, 2015 — The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), its staff, physicians, volunteers and families will deeply miss Max Keeping, an outstanding citizen, broadcaster, and one of CHEO’s biggest champions. His voice reached thousands of children and their families for over 40 years. Our thoughts are with Max Keeping’s close family and friends.
Statement from Alex Munter, President and CEO, CHEO:
Today, Ottawa has lost one of its proudest ambassadors.
Kids in our community have lost one of their biggest champions.
CHEO has lost its most ardent supporter.
At CHEO, we are enormously thankful for Max Keeping’s unwavering commitment to us and to the kids and families that we serve. Max anchored our CHEO Telethon for over 25 years, attended hundreds of special events and visited CHEO countless times.
Max went on the air before CHEO even opened its doors. He gave so much of his energy to CHEO, helping the hospital blossom from humble beginnings. So, it was only fitting that we put Max’s name on our door here at CHEO. In 2003, we were honoured to name a new wing of the hospital after him in recognition of his tremendous efforts.
For as long as I can remember, I can hear Max’s voice steadily anchoring the CJOH news each evening – a constant presence during generations of tremendous change and technological development. To put Max’s longevity into perspective, by the time I entered grade one in 1974, Max was already a fixture on Ottawa’s airwaves.
I came to know Max well when I was in local government and actually worked for him for a couple of years when I was a commentator on CTV Ottawa. When I became the CEO of CHEO, Max was one of the first people who called; he offered his support, advice and insights. Even while persevering during his own diagnosis and treatment for cancer, Max never hesitated to be an advocate for kids and I counted him as one of my most vocal advisors. This past year was very hard as Max lost his legendary “gift of the gab” – but he never lost his spirit, curiosity or love of community. When I last saw him, the TV was tuned to federal election coverage and newspapers were spread across his bed, the inveterate newsman. As I gave him the latest updates from CHEO, he smiled and laughed – always happy at the success of “his” hospital.
Max’s support for children and youth has been legendary and substantial; some say to the tune of $140 million dollars. But where Max was truly gifted was in his ability to bring people and organizations together to create long lasting and direct impacts in the lives of kids. From Max’s co-founding of Child and Youth Friendly Ottawa, his spearheading of The Max Keeping Foundation, to his heroic support for CHEO for the past 40 years; there is no doubt that Max’s legacy will be felt by kids for generations to come. Indeed, Max will always be a hero to CHEO. His final gesture of support is one that will continue forever through an endowment to support our kids and families in need. Even though Max will no longer be here to champion his favourite cause, the CHEO community is grateful and humbled by his support.
Today, everyone at CHEO shares in our community’s grief over the loss of a true advocate and champion for children and youth. We grieve with Max’s close family and friends as they reflect on Max’s remarkable legacy. It is a legacy that will live on through the mission of the children’s hospital he helped to build.
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