Michelle earned her degree in Montessori Education and worked for many years at a reputable International Baccalaureate School in the Niagara Region. She is now a retired Montessori Teacher.
When Michelle realized that her strong belief in Montessori philosophy could extend to her teaching in the sport she loved, that being Taekwondo, she retired as an educator and taught Taekwondo classes full time with her family. This transition was smooth and made sense given her strong work ethic, attention to detail and her indomitable spirit that drives her succeed by helping those around her do the same. Michelle is the former co owner of Kicks for Kids Family Martial Arts Academies in Halton Region. She is a Fourth Degree Black Belt in the Olympic sport of Taekwondo.
Michelle is currently the Kidney Care Patient Representative at Niagara Health Systems and the Patient Representative on the Kidney Care Quality Team at St Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton. She is also the Transplant Ambassador Program Lead at St Joseph’s. Michelle is an active team member on the Patient and Family Advisory Council at the Ontario Renal Network and she is currently employed as part of the Kidney March Outreach Team through the Southern Alberta Branch of the Kidney Foundation of Canada.
When her son David was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Failure at the age of 17 and put on emergency Peritoneal Dialysis, Michelle immediately began testing to see if she was a viable donor to him. With that same high performance drive and optimistic attitude instilled in her as an athlete and an educator she set out to ensure David’s physical and emotional well being be preserved and protected. Michelle became a strong and educated voice for organ donation and kidney health. Unfortunately David died on the day he was to receive his mother’s Gift of Life but Michelle did as she always has in the face of great adversity; she picks up her broken spirit and finds a way to make it stronger. Just moments after David’s tragic death Michelle created the vision of The David Gregory MacKinnon Memorial Foundation. In February of 2012 this vision was realized and The David Gregory MacKinnon Memorial Foundation was established as a registered national charity run solely on volunteers who are passionate about its mission.
As the Board’s first President, Michelle works tirelessly to honour her brave son, to advocate on behalf of Renal Patients in her province of Ontario while supporting other patients across Canada; Michelle is a genuine and powerful voice for Organ Donation across North America. In fact, Michelle is so passionate about this need for donors that she went ahead and donated her kidney that was meant to save her own son to a two year old boy whom she didn’t even know.
Because of David’s love for education and dialysis robbing him of much of his graduating high school year coupled with Michelle’s background as a renowned educator she works with earnest dedication to see that deserving students are provided opportunities to realize their University dreams because she knows how much this would have meant to David.
Michelle is loved for her unshakable optimism, her constant smile, and through her kindness her genuine ability to inspire love, worth and great happiness in others.