For those of us who observe Passover, celebrating with family and friends is a focal point of the holiday. Together, as we sit around the Seder table, we read the Haggadah and relive the chronicle of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt.
Our wine glasses are filled, emptied and filled once again- four times. However, at the centre of the table, one wine-filled cup remains untouched—reserved for the prophet Elijah. According to a centuries-old tradition, the contents of this special cup are never consumed. Instead, it sits ceremoniously and symbolically, representing staying power, perseverance, in anticipation of the Messianic times to come.
Sadly, this year’s holiday has been interrupted by the sudden and tragic passing of Dr. Mark Wainberg, a gifted scientist and a wonderful man who also exemplified traits of commitment and a desire to make the future better for those in distress. Through his own perseverance and staying power, he greatly changed the lives of so many through his contribution to HIV/AIDS research.
Mark was a colleague and friend to many of us at the Jewish General Hospital (JGH) and the Lady Davis Institute—in some instances, as far back as the mid-1970s. A humble, but determined man, his smiling face and desire to do and bring good to the world are typical of the values of the many individuals who built and continue to push the JGH toward new heights.
I can only hope that this tragic loss will serve as a reminder of the impact that any of us can have on the world of health care and especially on those who look to us in in their most difficult hour. As Dr. Wainberg ably demonstrated, our patients must be at the centre of all of our efforts, and it is to them that we must dedicate ourselves in providing the best possible healthcare experience.
For me, as for many of us, the untimely passing of Mark Wainberg will forever colour this holiday season. May his memory be a blessing for us all.