Lillie Johnson: Jamaica 1989–1992, 1992–1995

At 92 years young, Lillie Johnson is a shining example of service to others and the community at large. She was awarded the Order of Ontario in 2011 for her work with the Sickle Cell Association of Ontario, which she founded in 1981. Growing up in Jamaica, Lillie learned early on the importance of education and of helping other people. 

After qualifying as a nurse in the U.K., Lillie came to Canada in 1960. She pursued her dream, furthering her nursing education while working full-time in the healthcare sector, a career that culminated in her being the first black Director of Public Health in the Leeds-Grenville and Lanark District. 

Lillie promised to return to Jamaica one day to provide more affordable and accessible healthcare. In 1989, Lillie fulfilled that promise when she returned as a Cuso International volunteer.

After she retired, Lillie returned to Jamaica as a Cuso International diaspora volunteer, working on two different assignments over a 10-year period. In her last four years as a volunteer, Lillie helped open and run a medical clinic.

Read more about Lillie’s dedication to others in her memoir, “My Dream”.

Lillie Johnston