When David Cynamon says he will climb a mountain for Mount Sinai, he means it literally. The long-time donor and volunteer leader of the Hospital created Summit for Sinai – a seven-day climb up Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for Mount Sinai Hospital.
David and Stacey Cynamon and their three children
"We have been enthusiasts of Mount Sinai since we had our first child, Jesse, there in 1994," says David. "Not only is it an outstanding hospital from the perspective of clinical and research excellence, but it is also the only hospital in the city with its roots in the Jewish community, which is important to our family. That gives us a real sense of familiarity and belonging, which is very meaningful."
With all three of their children born at the Hospital, David and his wife, Stacey, developed a special interest in the care of mothers and babies at Mount Sinai. As such, they funded the creation of the David & Stacey Cynamon Mother & Baby Unit – a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility for mothers and their newborn babies. The unit is housed within the Hospital's six new floors which just opened this past May – a major milestone for Mount Sinai.
"Having been through it three times with the birth of our own kids, we know how important it is to have as positive an experience as possible when you bring a baby into the world," comments David. "With Mount Sinai being the go-to hospital for all things mom-and-baby, we thought it was a way to have a significant impact on families. It feels very nice to be a part of that."
David and Stacey are not only financial supporters of Mount Sinai, but David has also been active as a volunteer leader of the Foundation since 2003. "I think giving of your time is just as important as donating money. I get a thrill out of seeing how the money is used to really impact patients. It’s a feel-good experience for me."
David is a believer in finding creative ways to fundraise, and together with Mark Gryfe, former President and CEO of the Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation, they did just that when they created an exciting new fundraising event. "Mark and I have always worked really well together. One morning, over a bowl of oatmeal, we dreamed up Summit for Sinai," says David. The goal was to help a group of 13 climbers ― all of whom David was responsible for recruiting ― realize a lifelong dream of conquering an enormous physical challenge like climbing Kilimanjaro, and they reciprocate by raising $1.2 million for Mount Sinai in the process.
"Recruiting climbers was a bit more challenging than I thought," reflects David. "Not everyone was willing to pack up and ship off to Africa for a week to climb a mountain. Nor was everyone comfortable with the responsibility of raising a significant amount of money in a short period. Finding people who wanted to do both took some time." All 13 climbers have now been recruited and each one has chosen an area of care at Mount Sinai for which they are fundraising.
David is climbing for the Schwartz/Reisman Emergency Centre. His fundraising strategy? He approached friends and colleagues, first asking them if they wanted to climb Kilimanjaro with him. "When I saw the look of fear on their faces, I’d tell them if they weren’t going to climb, the least they could do was support those of us who were. People were very willing to buy their way out of climbing Kilimanjaro!"
Incredibly, the team has already surpassed the $1.1 million mark, and they still have two months to go! Under David’s leadership, Summit for Sinai has already been an outstanding success, and the real adventure has yet to unfold. If they are half as good at climbing as they are at supporting Mount Sinai, the climb should be a piece of cake.
For more information on Summit for Sinai, or to support David or another climber, visit summitforsinai.ca, or contact Len Milley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-586-8203 ext. 3169.