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Giving Back

March 14, 2017

ellen and jim

Jim Wiswell learned he had the HD gene in 1995. It was tough news to come to terms with, but a healthcare professional suggested that one way to feel better was by getting involved. For more than two decades, Jim and his wife, Ellen Foster, have done just that.

Ellen served on the executive of HSC’s Toronto chapter. Jim led the Gems of Toronto architectural walking tours for 18 years to raise money for the Society. And together, they’ve been monthly donors, indy organizers and all-star amaryllis sellers.

For both of them, the advice to volunteer proved bang on. “You feel like you’re contributing, you raise money for a good cause, and you meet some amazing people,” says Jim. So when it came time to update their will, it’s no surprise they chose to leave a gift for the Society as a way to continue contributing after they’re gone.


The couple see it as a way of giving back to an organization that has supported them — and Jim’s family — so much. They point to social workers like Nancy Webb, Rozi Andrejas and Sandra Funk who have provided guidance over the years. They’ve taken advantage of information on HSC’s website and learned about the latest breakthroughs at National Conferences.

Meanwhile, support groups and therapeutic retreats connected them with other families affected by HD. “To have a sense of community is absolutely what it’s all about,” Ellen says. “And the community is deserving of as much support as we can give them.”

That’s why they chose to make a legacy gift. Ultimately, Ellen hopes the day will come when research advances mean we no longer need a Huntington Society of Canada. “But right now,” she says, “they need support.” Jim agrees. “They’ve given a lot to me,” he says. “I’d like to give something back.”

Interested in learning more about legacy giving? Click here. You can also call Jeff Hoffman at 1-800-998-7398 or email

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