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Former SickKids nurse and grieving family stay connected over 60 years


Six decades ago, a young boy passed away at SickKids in Toronto, and despite the passage of time, one nurse's profound impact on the grieving family endures, with the two parties continuing to exchange Christmas cards to this day.

In 1962, Lois Clark's seven-year-old son, David, was diagnosed with leukemia and was taken to the Toronto hospital for children, where the family met a nurse named Barbara Gentry.

The 18-year-old Barbara, who went to nursing school in Orillia and had started her placement at SickKids, made an imprint on the Clarks during a devastating time for the family.

Lois Clark holds a photo of her son, David, who died of leukemia. (CTV News/Molly Frommer)

Fast forward to the present day, and the enduring bond between the two women persists, having weathered the test of time.

"It's been wonderful because she's a special person to me and always has been. She sent me a letter after David passed away saying how sorry she was and that if she had a little brother, she would have wanted him to be like David," said Lois.

"Somehow, they have followed me all over the world," Barbara said. "She has sent me a Christmas card without fail and a letter every year since."

Barbara Gentry is pictured after graduating nursing school in Orillia, Ont. (Supplied)

Although separated physically, the two recently rekindled their connection virtually after 60 years.

Lois and Barbara exchange updates on their journeys each year, sharing glimpses of personal and family milestones.

For Barbara, the Clarks are not just a fleeting memory but a cherished part of her narrative.

"Just the whole story - I've never forgot. I've often told friends about the lady that still sends me a card," said Barbara.

Lois and Barbara vow to continue the tradition of exchanging letters and cards, bridging the years and miles that separate them. Top Stories

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