It is with profound sadness that I share with you the news that Rena Scheffer, Renascent’s Senior Director of Development, died in a tragic car accident on November 5, 2012. Rena’s journey with us was short but her impact was immediate. We will mourn the loss of her vivacious spirit deeply.
Rena was a devoted mother to Eden and David and a committed partner to Craig Hurst. She talked often and proudly about her family. She said she loved to “blur the lines” between private and professional life, never missing an opportunity to introduce her children or husband to her colleagues.
Rena was a relationship builder. Prior to joining Renascent, she had successfully held the position of Director of Communications and Community Engagement at Southlake Regional Health Centre Foundation. She managed a significant fundraising portfolio and established an award-winning communications program for the Foundation. Rena was also the founding Director of Public Affairs for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).
She had already begun to set a bold new course for the philanthropy program at Renascent. Colleagues on the senior management team, Board members and direct reports commented on her vision, passion and openness. She saw Renascent’s fundraising program as a means to share the blessings of life with others. Rena was already passionately telling her friends and former colleagues about this wonderful place she’d discovered called Renascent and the people here who had already touched her life in a profound way. She beamed when she said that she’d never experienced any place like Renascent and was so energized by being part of the team.
Rena was also a communicator – able to write passionately about what she believed in. She posted these words online recently in her personal fundraising page for Renascent through the Scotia Run:
“I’ve been fortunate in my life – to have been born into a loving home where I was encouraged to believe that I could do anything; to have met a partner who IS my partner and who supports me in everything I do; to have raised two incredible children who, every day, leave us shaking our heads at ‘where did we go right’; to have family and friends who have always been by our sides and have so enriched our lives; and to have been able to find myself in jobs where I get to be inspired by people every day.
Since early August, I have been working at Renascent Foundation, which raises funds to support addiction treatment services at four treatment centres in the GTA. What does that mean?
What we really do is help people reclaim their lives….like the 7 year old child who was fortunate to participate in our unique Children’s Program and who learned that her chaotic home life was not her fault; and the young adult who found his way out of the seemingly endless cycle of addiction and returned to university to begin the life he deserves; and the father who restored his dignity, his job and his family life. In only my first week at Renascent, I felt an optimism about the potential for recovery from this stubborn disease – an optimism I have never experienced about any other addiction treatment centre. People get well here….and they pay it forward to those who come behind them.
I only wish I had known about Renascent earlier when I could have helped people in my life touched by addiction.
If you’ve been blessed, please join with me in supporting this wonderful organization and the people that we serve. They deserve it.”
Renascent has lost a leader, an advocate and a wonderful friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and everyone who has been touched by her. I know I speak for many of us when I say we have lost an amazing personal friend and colleague.
Dr. Patrick Smith