Hy Eileyz”l was born in Montreal where his sister, an individual with diverse abilities, lived with no access to any organization like Reena. Eiley became active in community life moving to Toronto from California in the early 1980’s. According to his wife Joan, Hy’s sister was really the driving force for him to become involved with Reena “because of the wonderful things Reena does.”
Hy Eiley was an incredibly compassionate supporter of people with disabilities saying, “If I can help to improve the lives of those around me who have not been as fortunate, I will be truly pleased.” Eiley said his parents always told him to leave the world a little better than you found it, and that is exactly what he did.
Hy worked closely with Sandy Keshen with whom he adored, according to wife Joan. He was a man of tremendous vision and was instrumental in securing the lead gift for the Toby & Henry Battle Developmental Centre. Hy had foresight and a keen understanding of the resources that Reena would require in order to meet the needs of the future.
Eiley was also one of the driving forces behind the establishment of Reena’s Fundraising arm, Reena Foundation. In fact, he was honoured to be the Founding Chair. He was a generous supporter of numerous Reena initiatives and was always available to provide guidance and advice according to those who knew him and worked with him. “When Hy put his arms around you it was both an embrace and a push forward,” says Reena President and CEO Bryan Keshen, “It was never one without the other.”
His passionate voice left an indelible mark on the fabric and lives of everyone at Reena. In fact, a Reena accessible van was purchased in his honour with money raised from Dr. Alan Berger’s annual golf tournament. “So now there is a van running around the city with his name on it,” says Joan, “He would be thrilled…I don’t know if he were alive if he would have said yes, but I think he would be thrilled that they’ve done that for him.”