A storybook bond, a lasting legacy

Vivian and Burle Silverman shared a bond that some would say you only read about in storybooks.

Although their journey together was cut short, their love ultimately created a lasting legacy of hope for other Manitobans.

Vivian and Burle first found each other side-by-side in their cubicles working at Revenue Canada. “We were yin and yang. We complemented each other,” said Burle.

Vivian’s family had a long history of cancer. Vivian’s mother and five great-aunts had all died from it. Her mother passed away in January 2000 in St. Boniface Hospital’s Palliative Care Unit. Vivian always believed it wasn’t a matter of “if” she got cancer, but “when”.

Unfortunately, she was right. In January 2013, Vivian was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer, less than a year after she and Burle had retired. After several rounds of chemotherapy, Vivian underwent surgery to attempt removal of the tumor.

Sadly Vivian and Burle’s time together came to an end in 2015, when she was only 58. The couple had shared a cherished 24 years together.

“It was always just the two of us, so it was a big adjustment,” said Burle. “My wife was a gorgeous woman…she really was.”

Before she died, Vivian and Burle had decided to give back to St. Boniface Hospital Foundation, to support Palliative Care. Vivian is now memorialized on a wall in the Palliative Care Unit, right beside her mother.

Burle explained the importance of giving back to the Palliative Care Unit: “The work they do there is so unbelievable. It’s important that they get our support.” Thinking of the staff, Burle took a poignant pause and said, “They’re angels.”

Burle loves talking about Vivian. Expressing the importance of supporting the Hospital, he shared his hope that Vivian’s life story might inspire others to give back also.

May is Leave A Legacy month. We’re grateful for the Silverman family and so many more donors who give in memory and build a legacy of hope for those in need. Learn more.