Community: An advocate for research

At nearly 80 years of age, Claudia Day is a tireless research advocate. After spending decades working as a nurse, volunteering in orphanages and medical clinics around the world, travelling extensively, and giving back to the community, she wears the title of advocate proudly – especially as a resident of London and a donor to Robarts Research Institute.

"I think we are so lucky to live in London, we have such brilliant people working in medical and health research here, and we continue to attract the top scientists from around the world," Day said.

Health care and public health have been a constant in Day's life since she graduated with a three-year nursing degree from Victoria General Hospital in Halifax. With nursing roles in paediatrics, private duty nursing, and with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Day has a lifetime of experiences with the Canadian health care system.

Adventurous by nature, Day and her husband travelled the world and while doing so contributed to the development of schools and post-secondary college systems and educational programs in India, Thailand and the Middle East. It was while in India and Thailand, that Day had the opportunity to work with young children living in orphanages and support medical clinics.

These were life-changing experiences for Day that she often reflects on as she learns more about the medical research taking place in London.

Sitting down to chat with Day, her passion for research is immediately evident. She chuckles as she points to a stack of articles and magazines from Schulich Medicine & Dentistry and Robarts profiling various research projects and scientists, that she wants to read to continue her learning about the ongoing research in London.  

The readings have taken a bit of a back seat to her busy schedule attending lecture and symposiums in the community. Day just completed her fifth year as an attendee at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry's Mini Medical School and she is an active attendee at the Discover Robarts Lecture Series, as well as St. Joseph's Health Care London's Doc Talks.

"I really enjoy the lectures and being able to take the tours," Day said. "The scientists are so approachable and willing to answer your questions; they really go out of their way to help you understand their work and the impact it is having on health care."

For Day, supporting research is just as important as learning about it.

"I personally believe that it doesn't matter how rich, how beautiful, or how smart you are – if you don't have your health – none of it matters," Day said. "That's why I donate to medical research."

Day has a special interest in neurological disease and has focused her support at Robarts. An annual contributor, she's also decided to make a legacy gift, which will support research in general at Robarts.

For now, though, Day's work as an advocate continues – booking her schedule with lectures she wants to attend and visiting with her friends, who she is sure to encourage joining her in supporting the outstanding research taking place at Robarts.