Sierra Turner can only imagine what it was like for her parents to watch their daughter slowly dying. Six years after being diagnosed with anorexia, and with her health at an all-time low, she was admitted, yet again, to the Eating Disorders Clinic at St. Paul’s in November 2017. Sierra was so ill, and she had tried so many other programs, she was beginning to give up hope. But her parents hadn’t. Unsure of how to help, but desperate to show their support, they got together with a few close friends to purchase a star in Sierra’s name in the Lights of Hope. Knowing the star was there – that her parents, family, and friends believed in her – helped Sierra to understand that no matter where you are in your journey, there is always, always hope.
Where there is light there is hope.
Donors to St. Paul’s Foundation have an impact on every patient, resident, visitor and department and support the work of St. Paul’s Hospital, Holy Family Hospital, Mount Saint Joseph Hospital, St. Michael’s Centre, St. Vincent’s: Brock Fahrni, St. Vincent’s: Honoria Conway-Heather, St. Vincent’s: Langara, and Youville Residence.
Your donations help make it possible to save lives… to provide warm clothing to patients in need… to fund research initiatives that change the way we diagnose and treat disease.
Thank you for giving hope to our patients, residents and their families.
Stories of hope
Ed Mejlholm had lived with an enlarged heart, and its many complications, for almost 20 years. Excellent care from Dr. Jamil Bashir and the cardiology team at St. Paul’s kept him going, but his condition continued to worsen. Finally, out of treatment options, Ed was put on the transplant list. Too sick to be at home, he laid in his bed at St. Paul’s for 50 nights wondering if he would live long enough to have the surgery. On April 19, 2017, Ed got his new heart. This year, he’s paying it forward by raising $20,000 to put a star on the Lights of Hope so others can have the chance for the same life-changing care he received.
You could say Hayley Atkinson has been doubly, doubly blessed. Thanks to the renal and obstetrics departments at St. Paul’s, Hayley has had two kidney transplants and two healthy daughters! She also has an extra special place in her heart for the Lights of Hope. On a cold December night in 2008, Hayley gave birth to her first child during a freak snowstorm. Her husband Bill slipped out to photograph the Lights of Hope and the magic of that rare and spectacular winter wonderland. The couple left the hospital on Christmas Eve with their precious gift, Rebecca Hope (yes, named for the Lights). Five years later, Hayley was again discharged from St. Paul’s on Christmas Eve under the Lights of Hope: this time with the precious gift of a new kidney from her best friend.
By all accounts, Jordan D Marcia shouldn’t even be alive: a rare lung disorder, congenital heart condition, lymphoma, and a heart transplant all before the age of 8. Two years ago and 22 years post-transplant, Jordan had a dream to travel to every country in the world. His quest started with a visit to Dr. Andy and his cardiology team at St. Paul’s who told him to “go for it.” Since then, Jordan has ticked 14 countries off his bucket list and he continues to live life to the fullest – not just his life, but his donor’s life, too.
Your support of St. Paul’s Foundation truly does give hope to people like Twyla Doyle-O’Reilly! Her brother, Fenton, had a rare and incurable muscular disorder called amyloidosis which eventually destroyed his heart to the point where his only chance was a transplant. On December 31st 2010, Fenton received notification that a heart was available, after earlier disappointment where a heart was found but not a match. The Lights of Hope were a symbol of comfort and hope for Twyla as she waited for the news, and whose brother lived another five and a half years with his new heart and compassionate care at St. Paul's Hospital.
Music therapy helps residents and patients with socialization, self-expression, and mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. Lorri Johnson, a certified music therapist at Youville Residence, recently had the opportunity to take Lilian, a resident at PHC’s Youville residential care home, to a performance of Mama Mia! Spoiler alert: A great time was had by all! Gifts to the Greatest Needs Fund give therapists like Lorri, and residents like Lilian, the opportunity to share music, companionship, and memories.
Vida Balciunas spent many years as a psychiatric nurse at St. Paul’s. When her brother Danny died unexpectedly in 2017, she knew immediately that she wanted to honour him with a star in the Lights of Hope. Vida says Danny was a “shining star” in her life, and visiting his star was a tremendous source of comfort to her. Vida wants others to know that a star in the Lights of Hope is a meaningful way to remember a loved one and make a difference in the care and outreach St. Paul’s is known for.