Peacefully after a short illness on July 28, 2022, with those he loved and who loved him deeply close by. Predeceased by our father, Richard Hugh MacKenzie (1999) and mother Susan Scott MacIsaac nee Nixon (2020), by beloved grandparents Jose & Natalie Nixon, and Robert & Betty MacKenzie. Graham is survived by brother Stephen Richard MacKenzie, sister Amanda Janet MacKenzie (Malcolm Carr) and nephew Grant Richard Scott MacKenzie. Graham is also survived by our aunts, uncles and cousins who have been loving and steadfast throughout Graham’s life.
Graham packed an incredible amount of life into his 40 years. Graham was an alumnus of Sunny View Public School, William Osler High School and Humber College, developing his skills and interests well beyond what was ever expected when he came into the world. In his first 25 years of life, Graham was always on the move, from jumping on the TTC to visit his friends and attend community programs, to helping seniors with errands in his neighbourhood, to attending theatre, many concerts, and cheering on the Blue Jays at the Dome. Our parents made sure Graham benefited from every opportunity. Even after Graham experienced major health events, our mother ensured he had what he needed and wanted in both his independent living situation and his care system.
Graham was special from the start, breaking down barriers and charging through with his signature walk. Graham was committed Rover (23rd Toronto Rover Scouts), a confident horseback rider (Community Association for Riders with Disabilities), a beautiful skier (Track 3), a water-baby swimmer, a rock climber (Variety Village), and an avid music and art lover. Graham traveled with our family and his friends, including winter holidays in Florida, skiing at Whistler, camping and cottaging. Graham loved dogs, especially Emily and Felicity, and gleefully relished using the Chuck-It at the dog park. Graham would want us to make sure we highlight his deep and abiding love for Star Trek, especially Captain Picard and Data.
Graham was a terrific uncle, never letting Grant’s feet touch the floor if he could help it, and the very best of brothers, giving his love, humour, twinkling winks and famous bear hugs without limitation as together we went through devastating losses. We will remember always our tow-headed brother who invented “1-800-RUN-FAST, a one-kid courier company, carrying messages to and fro during long summers at the lake. Graham and our parents taught us that inclusion should be the status quo, and we will take those lessons with us as we try to fathom our family without he who is the best of us.
Our family wishes to express our deepest gratitude to Graham’s program and support staff. To Mary Eckhardt, Pamela Lindsay, Mike McCarthy, Krys Weiss, the program staff at Community Living Toronto (Frances MacNeil, Laura Starrett, Lauren Furey and Maria Grillo): your deep love for Graham and support of our family over decades made Graham’s life and independence possible. We thank you from the very bottom of our hearts for loving and supporting Graham, and for being relentless advocates. Graham’s VHA PSWs D’Ann, Magnan, Amalia, Racquel and Eloise made it so that Graham could fully participate in his life. We are so grateful for your care of our little brother.
Our family owes a debt of gratitude to Graham’s highly skilled and deeply compassionate medical team. Our thanks to Dr. Nitai Gelber at the Toronto Western Family Health Team for quarterbacking Graham’s medical needs, for understanding Graham’s exceptionality, for advocating for the best care, and for being an essential support when called upon. We thank Dr. Nava Maham in critical care at Toronto Western Hospital for her generosity, guidance and compassion, Dr. Preeti Dhar, and our gratitude extends to Toronto Western Hospital ICU nurses Caitlin, Wei, and most especially Charlene for caring for Graham as if he was their little brother too.
On Saturday, October 1, 2022, we will celebrate the lives of Graham and our mother Susan as they were two souls inextricably intertwined. Please save the date; more information will be circulated as we plan this memorial event. We are asking all those who would like to memorialize Graham through a donation to do so to Community Living Toronto, LIGHTS program.
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