Extendicare Parkside

Celebrating Black History Month with Lillie Johnson

If you ask Lillie Johnson about the most important part of her upbringing childhood, she’ll tell you two things – family, and education. Family gave her the deep passion in caring for others, and education provided her with the necessary tools to turn that passion into a career.

Lillie Johnson, now 97 and residing at Extendicare Rouge Valley, tells us stories of her childhood in Jamaica and how her large family helped set her on the path of education. Lillie emigrated from Jamaica to Canada in 1960 and went on to achieve many accolades and awards throughout her career as a nurse. One of her proudest achievements was founding the Sickle Cell Association of Toronto in 1981 and was a crucial part of introducing screening for this disease to newborns in Ontario.

When we sat down with Lillie earlier this month to learn about her experience as a black woman working in healthcare during the 60s and 70s, she told us it wasn’t easy.

We asked what it was like for her:

Not only is February Black History Month, but 2020 is also the Year of the Nurse. We celebrate Lillie Johnson for her groundbreaking contributions for healthcare not only in Ontario, but in Canada.