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Couple generously donate to the medical school bursary fund

Nicholas and Anna Wargaty lead a very modest life. Yet there is no limit to their kindness and charity for others. The couple recently donated $10,000 to the bursary campaign fund sponsored by the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM).
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"It's very important to give back to the community and we think it's very important to bring in more young doctors here in the north," said Nicholas Wargaty, 84, above with his wife Anna, 75.

Nicholas and Anna Wargaty lead a very modest life. Yet there is no limit to their kindness and charity for others.

The couple recently donated $10,000 to the bursary campaign fund sponsored by the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM).

"It's very important to give back to the community and we think it's very important to bring in more young doctors here in the north," said Nicholas, 84, with a very thick Ukrainian accent.

Nicholas and Anna married 22 years ago. It was second marriages for both of them. They live at the Ukrainian Seniors Centre downtown.

He's 84 and she's 75. They both love the life Canada and Greater Sudbury has provided them. It is natural for them to want to give back to the community as a way of saying thanks.

For much of their marriage, the couple have made modest, but regular donations to various causes, including their church, a fund organized to assist children affected from radiation in Chernobyl and local hospitals.

"I worked very hard during my life...I never missed a shift" (at Inco), said Nicholas proudly. "I managed to save some money and we have enough to live a good life, so we still have enough to give away to charity."

After Anna had open heart surgery nine years ago and Nicholas spent numerous stints in hospital for a variety of ailments, they decided last year a generous donation to NOSM would be the right thing to do.

"This medical school will be very valuable to this community for many years to come," said Nicholas. "We've both had medical problems over the past few years and we got to see how well the doctors and nurses treat us.

"By giving this money, we hope to do our small part to help bring more doctors to Sudbury and Northern Ontario."

Nicholas was born and raised in the Ukraine, while Anna was born and raised in Slovakia. Nicholas came to Canada in 1948 after working in the coal mines of Belgium for one year. Before that he worked forced labour at a German farm for more than three years from 1942 until the end of the Second World War. He worked 30 years for Inco Ltd. in the Copper Refinery before taking his pension in 1978.

Anna also spent time in a labour camp before coming to Canada with her family in 1966.

They got married in 1984. During the first decade of their married life, the couple spent much of their free time travelling.

"We've been to Cuba, Slovakia, Ukraine and to Victoria Island in the west of Canada (and) all the way to Prince Edward Island in the east," said Nicholas. "We loved to travel, but we were young and strong and we can no longer travel because we are old and not so strong."

Nicholas is proud of the fact he's planted more than 100 apple, oak and ash trees along the Junction Creek area and near his church over the past 30 years.

He still takes time to prune his trees and tries to pay regular visits when he feels strong enough.

Gerry Lougheed Jr., who heads up NOSM's bursary campaign fund, said people like Nicholas and Anna exemplify "what a true local hero is all about...they define what generosity is all about."

Bursary funds like this one ensure many potential medical students who might not be able to afford to study at NOSM are given the opportunity to do so, and many will become doctors in Northern Ontario, said Lougheed.

"I'm so impressed by them...both have had their share of medical problems over the past few years and they wanted to do something significant from their heart and wallet," he said.

"It's truly impressive to see an elderly couple like this with modest means make such a generous donation."

Both had to overcome much adversity in their younger lives in Eastern Europe and their appreciation for the lifestyle they have been able to lead in Canada is quite evident by their generosity, said Lougheed.