A lifetime of caring for others

16 April 2024

When Fran shared her highlights of a well-lived life with us, she had many, including:

  • Helping hundreds of injured workers return to work using community resources and programs.
  • Creating a wheelchair mouthpiece adaptation so a quadriplegic could operate it by mouth.
  • Establishing discharge plans to maintain patients at home and enhance the lives of patients in long-term care facilities.

These are just a few gems from the career of occupational therapist, Fran Foga Williams, ’71 Dip(RM), ’90 BSc(OT).

Raised on a farm in Saskatchewan, Fran earned her degrees at the University of Alberta. After graduating, she worked for 47 years in public and private practice. 

Fran recognizes the shortage of skilled workers in the field, so she wants to support the next generation of occupational therapists (OT). This includes students from Saskatchewan who are attending U of A because there is no OT program in their home province. They will be able to go on and help people in communities where the need is high.

With a Gift of Securities, she has created the Fran Foga Williams Graduate Award in Occupational Therapy at the U of A. And she has included a bequest in her Will to fund her award into the future. 

“I’m designating this award to the occupational therapy student who best uses their practical skills and abilities to cooperate with others. I believe these qualities will optimize the outcome for patients with serious injuries or medical illnesses,” says Fran. As she adds, working collaboratively with other therapists is the best way to help clients improve.

 “Rehabilitation professionals deal with devastating changes to a person’s life, and they must have empathy and the ability to be creative.”

Fran’s award will support talented students dedicated to assisting people suffering in our communities. At some point in their lives, a huge number of Canadians will require occupational therapy – for a pediatric condition, an accident or aging. Occupational therapists will enhance the quality of their lives. 

Through her gift, she will help students lead fulfilling careers in occupational therapy. And she’s also continuing to help people whose lives will improve because of the treatment they receive. 

We thank Fran for her generous support of students at the U of A. Her life’s work will continue helping others for many, many years to come.