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Meet Ethan Nino

Ethan Nino

Ethan Nino is paying it forward. After their own positive experiences with Gifts of Light as a CAMH patient, Ethan supports the program whenever they can.

“I choose to donate to Gifts of Light now because I’ve always struggled with mental health and I wanted to give back to people that helped me when I needed it,” says Ethan.

They know, more than most, how much it means to feel supported on the path to recovery. When Ethan was 16, they came to CAMH’s Gerald Sheff & Shanitha Kachan Emergency Department in crisis. They had been pushed out of their house after coming out to their parents, and were considering suicide.

“When I went to CAMH, I only had the clothes I was wearing. They gave me more clothes, toiletries—all the basics—and it was so helpful,” says Ethan. “Just having clean clothes, it made me feel a little more dignified. Having toiletries so I could shave or brush my teeth was a big help. It’s the little things that really made a difference.”

Ethan also found joy—and lasting friendships—when they attended a Toronto Maple Leafs through Gifts of Light.

“It was hugely therapeutic for me. Going out and doing something different, it let me forget for a bit and just enjoy myself,” says Ethan. “I met new people at that hockey game, and I’m still friends with some of them today.”

Now 22 years old, married and living in Barrie with their husband and two dogs, Ethan continues to support Gifts of Light—and has even made it a family affair.

“My grandfather donates to Gifts of Light every year on my behalf,” says Ethan.

“To those who support Gifts of Light, I’d like to say to them what I say to my grandfather: Thanks for helping. Gifts of Light has the power to get people back on the right track. I can see what your donation does for people every time I go to the hospital.”

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Emergency Kit Emergency Kit

Basic necessities, like a toothbrush and a pair of socks, mean everything to patients who arrive with nothing.

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Spending time with animals can give patients a special moment of unconditional love.

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Milestone Recognition Milestone Recognition

Help celebrate milestones in a patient’s recovery as they achieve personal goals.

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