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Mom knows best: Sunnybrook staff share what their mothers taught them

Moms know best, as the saying goes. That certainly rings true with many Sunnybrook staff, who share the best piece of advice from their mothers.


Jennifer Trelle


“You don’t have to be in the middle of the dance floor. Just as long as you dance!”
Submitted by Jennifer Trelle, Administrative Coordinator, Volunteer Resources

Teresa Korogyi


“Life is very unpredictable. As a woman, you always need to be independent and able to survive on your own! Family and friends are great but there may be a time that they cannot be there for you. Inner strength is something nobody can take away.”

Submitted by Teresa Korogyi, Patient Care Manager

Agnes Ryzynski


I have been blessed to have two mothers in my life: my mom and my grandmother. They have shaped me into the woman that I am today.

My 94-year-old grandmother orchestrated her own escape from a Nazi work camp when she was 16.  She was slowly working on opening a hole in the fence. One night, when the allies were bombing, she ran amidst the bombs and crawled through the tiny hole in the fence. She then boarded on a town train to a neighbouring farm town. An elderly German family took her in and hid her. Nothing was planned, but she had the drive and courage to believe in herself and that she’s a survivor. She has taught me to believe that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to and nothing can stop me. Whenever I feel scared, I think of her courage. Whenever I doubt myself, I think of her tenacity. Whenever I worry about the future, I think of her saying to trust the future and my instincts. So she has made me unstoppable!

My mom has taught me to motivate myself. She always said that motivation comes from within, and when we look inside, we all have beautiful gifts we’ve been blessed with. So when I feel like I need a kick start, I think to what can I share with others that I’ve been blessed with. This inspires me to learn more and share what I have learned. Keeping knowledge to yourself does not help the world grow.

Submitted by Agnes Ryzynski, Manager, Simulation & Curriculum Development, Sunnybrook Canadian Simulation Centre

Michelle Mooney


There are two things my mom said to me that stand out, and I find myself telling my son the same things:

When I started high school and was all of a sudden a little fish in a big pond, my mid-term report card said “she doesn’t participate in class, actually, doesn’t speak much at all”.  My mom read the report card and said, “You have a mouth – use it! Make people aware you are in the room and always have an opinion”.

Also, when I was young and dating and lamenting that I couldn’t find “Mr. Right”, she said, “every behind has a chair.”  In other words, you will find someone who will be the right fit.  Just keep looking.

Submitted by Michelle Mooney, General Manager, Division of Dermatology

Dr. Jocelyn Charles


A few words of wisdom from the mothers in my family:

“Do what makes you happy but whatever you do, make a difference.”

“If you think you can or you can’t, you’re right!”

“Speak up, speak now or forever hold your peace.”

Submitted by Dr. Jocelyn Charles, Chief of the Department of Family & Community Medicine and Medical Director, Veterans Centre

Edith Augustin


Mother’s Day conjures so many special memories of my dear mom (may her soul RIP)!

One that made an indelible impression on me was my mom’s personal introduction of me to two scavengers as they cleaned our street. “This is my daughter Edith. If for any reason she disrespects you or does not greet you, I want you to inform me or her father immediately.” Her strong belief in equality and treating people with respect, regardless of their stature, was pragmatic and refreshing: from the scavengers who cleaned our streets to the doctors who cared for us at hospitals. As her kid, it was my responsibility to respect them both equally. “They both have jobs,” she would say, “and if their monies were placed in a bag the bank teller wouldn’t know the doctor’s dollar from the scavenger’s. An honest pay is an honest pay.”

Submitted by Edith Augustin, Parking Attendant, Parking & Transportation Services

Dr. Fahad Alam


My mom always used to tell me that (not in these exact words) –  life will be difficult, it’ll knock you down but it’s up to us to work hard to make it easier for those that come after us and those that don’t have the resources to get back up.  Basically work hard so you can change the system to help others and they don’t have to endure what you went through…

She also told me to never bother my sister because, beside my parents, she has the most dirt on me and can easily hold that against me at any time (lol).

Submitted by Dr. Fahad Alam, Anesthesiologist and Director of Research at The Collaborative Human Immersive Interactions Lab (CHISIL)

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