Meet Grateful Patients
Andy Lam stands and smiles in front of a Christmas tree with his family.

Andy Lam's Story

Your Impact on Brain Health

On the evening of September 4, 2019, Andy Lam experienced the worst headache of his life. He went to bed and woke up the next morning in even more pain. Luckily, he managed to call 911 for help before he passed out, and the paramedics arrived just in time.

Andy, who works in the CoreLab at London Health Science Centre (LHSC), suffered from a ruptured brain aneurysm. A brain aneurysm is a bulge in the wall of an artery found in a person’s brain. Aneurysms can grow large and rupture, releasing blood into the space around the brain. This bleed can be…

Judy and her granddaughter

Paying Forward the Kindness of Strangers

Sometimes the smallest gesture can have the greatest impact. For Carol Weekes Schacter, it was a brief moment five years ago at LHSC’s London Regional Cancer Program (LRCP).

Carol’s sister Judy was undergoing treatment for an aggressive brain tumour known as a glioblastoma and had her head shaved for brain surgery. Carol wanted to get her sister a nice wig, but knew Judy would prefer to pay for it herself; however, Judy was experiencing some financial challenges. Carol explained her sister’s situation to a volunteer at LRCP as she was perusing the wig selection. At the same…

A young woman with a shaved head looks out a window, while sitting in her hospital bed.

Emily's Story

 

Six years ago, Emily Marshall began noticing a pain in her right arm. An avid rugby player with a black belt in Taekwondo, she was familiar with muscle aches and sprains—this was different. X-Rays came back inconclusive. Physiotherapy didn’t seem to help, either.  

“All my friends started to notice how I had this arm that was sore all the time,” Emily says. “I was dropping things and losing function in it.” 

Eventually, the pain grew unbearable and she found herself in the Emergency Department at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC). She was in tears…

Tiffany Johnston

Fowler Kennedy gets varsity soccer player game ready

When a knee injury almost ended Tiffany’s varsity soccer career, the team at Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic (FKSMC) created a care plan to get her back to where she belongs. 

Before she came to London for university, Tiffany tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) – one of the key ligaments that help stabilize the knee joint – and received reconstruction surgery in Toronto. But Tiffany was still in pain while playing for Western University’s varsity soccer team.

“I had recovered from my first surgery already, but my range of motion was awful,” Tiffany says…

Murray Jones smiling at the camera, resting his chin on his hand.

Murray's Story

Murray Jones remembers his first experience at the Hospital after moving to London with his wife. In 1977 they started their family and only a few years later, their young son was hospitalized after suffering a broken leg.

“My son fell off a climber and broke his femur when was only three years old. I stayed at the hospital every night for the first few weeks to comfort him. They put him in a cast from chest to toes,” he recalls. “He's 35 years old now and can't remember which leg it was!”

This was far from the last time Murray would spend at the hospital. And…

Randy Bowden

Randy Bowden

When Randy Bowden lost his taste buds, he says it was one of the lowest points in his life.

It may seem like an insignificant side effect, given other complications that can come with cancer treatments. Yet to someone who cared so much about food, it was worse than the cancer diagnosis itself.

“Even when I found out I had head and neck cancer, it was not as bad as when I found out that I could not taste anything,” he said, recalling the sadness he felt. “And they couldn’t tell me when it was going to come back or if it was going to come back.”

After many…

Cindy's Story

"My surgery was December 19th, and I was home by Christmas Eve." - Cindy Waddick

It was like an elephant sitting on her chest. That’s how Cindy Waddick described the feeling of her heart attack, days before Dr. Chu would perform a complex surgery to save her life. Cindy was discharged on Christmas Eve. She was able to spend the holidays at home with her family and new fiancé. Listen to Cindy recant her story below.

Desiree Ford

Desiree Ford

On May 4, 2018, Desiree Ford was in a tragic car accident that claimed the lives of her friend and her dog.

Desiree had to be airlifted in to Victoria Hospital due to the severity of her injuries and required seven complete blood transfusions within the first 20 hours of her accident. Doctors weren’t sure she would make it through her first 24 hours, but she pulled through.

Thanks to the work of the doctors and nurses at London Health Sciences Center (LHSC), Desiree survived and has made significant strides towards healing.

Desiree’s injuries were…

Middle-aged man in collared shirt and tie cheek-to-cheek with his smiling wife.

The Year of Yes: Chris Slabon's Story

Chris Slabon has an anecdote for everything, it seems. His motto is: if you can make it funny, make it funny. But when he found an odd-looking mole on his chest in 2012, the jokes were put on hold, if only for a moment. After a couple of tests, he was diagnosed with melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer. 

A paramedic since 1995, who’s  also been teaching the course at Fanshawe College for over 12 years, Chris is no stranger to dire situations. He thrives in the chaos, he says. Making split-second…

Julie Long

Julie Horton

It’s hard to imagine that life as you know it can change overnight. This was the case for thirty-eight-year-old Julie Horton, mother of three, who simply woke one morning to extreme discomfort in her neck. Eventually, the pain became so severe she couldn’t perform daily tasks like sleeping, driving or even hugging her children.

“It was like one day the pain wasn’t there and the next day, it was. It seemed to just gradually get worse and worse, causing the muscles all around to get very tight and sore,” explains Julie.

After several years, the pain in Julie’s neck…

Young man sitting casually on hood of grey racing sedan.

Racing Awareness: Taylor Rayner's Story

Meet Taylor Rayner: financial advisor, racing enthusiast and advocate for mental health awareness.  For as long as he can remember, Taylor has always tried putting others first. An individual hyperaware of his surroundings, negative perceptions, or comments would often be taken as personal affronts. As if the classic, fork-tongued devil was sitting idly on his shoulder, waiting for the faintest hint of criticism before whispering, “Did you hear what they just said about you?”

This internal narrative, …

Tandra Lepine

“Without FEMAP, I don't know if I would be here today. FEMAP helped me find my voice and gave me the courage to use it,” says FEMAP patient Tandra Lepine, who bravely shares her story with the goal of helping others.

Tandra Lepine remembers having struggled with her mental health since she was a young child. When she was 9, she started experiencing a lot of unrest at home. She remembers witnessing a fight between her parents that led to the police coming to her home, which resulted in Tandra and her siblings having to stay at a women’s shelter with her mother for several weeks…

Holding hands on hospital bed.

Enduring Words | An Anonymous Letter from a Grateful Patient

Choosing to give to charity is the willingness to share in a vision for something better—the manifestation of one’s hope for the future. At London Health Sciences Foundation, we have the distinct pleasure of helping people make a real difference in the lives of others. But still, not everyone wants to be recognized for their generosity. 



Below is one such individual. It is a case of hope begetting hope: how a patient, so grateful for…

Cristian

Cristian Castro

In October of 2017, Cristian Castro was diagnosed with a type of blood cancer called Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This particular cancer begins in the white blood cells of the lymphatic system and can spread anywhere in the body.

Cristian’s diagnosis came with an 80% chance of survival.

At the time of his diagnosis, Cristian was only 29 years old with a full life ahead of him. Because he was young and lead a healthy, active lifestyle, this life-changing news came as a shock to both him and his family. Although devastated and afraid of the diagnosis, Cristian’s family…

John Oliveira and his wife

John Oliveira

Every year, one in seven men are diagnosed with prostate cancer. It is among the most commonly diagnosed cancers for Canadian men and the third deadliest. Yet still, many will put their prostate exam on the back burner because of associated stigmas.

Fortunately, this was not the case for John Oliveira, whose diligence in asking for the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test well before the recommended age saved his life.  

A hardworking family man from Wallaceburg, John knew that in order to live a long and healthy life, he needed to take control of his health – even though…

Carol Regts at Run for Ovarian Cancer

Carol Regts

Behind her smiling, bright-eyed, cheerful face is a disease that has deeply affected Carol Regts and her family – ovarian cancer. However with faith, a positive mindset and determination to live her best life, Carol is using her diagnosis as an opportunity to spread the message about early detection and help raise money for research.

In the summer of 2016, Carol began feeling “yucky” all the time. She was lethargic and had no motivation, even to do the things she once loved like volunteering and crafting. She was constantly bloated to the point where…

gord and his wife on the beach

Gord Williamson

The saying ‘you don’t know what you have until it’s gone’ could not be more true for Gord Williamson.

After doctors in Sarnia discovered he had throat cancer, Gord underwent 65 bouts of radiation and more than seven surgeries to save his life. Unfortunately, it left him without a voice. Today, thanks to the Head and Neck Cancer team at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), Gord is talking with the help of a voice prosthesis – and he’s got much more to say.

As a young adult, Gord moved from his hometown of Brampton to Sarnia to pursue post-secondary education. After meeting…

Turnbull Family

Jeff and Heather Turnbull

Prostate cancer is in all-too-common disease, with one in seven men diagnosed in their lifetime. Heather Turnbull was aware of these frightening statistics and convinced her husband to get checked out… just in time. She tells her story:

I can’t tell you enough how important it is to have regular checkups with your doctor. It was a year ago that my husband Jeff went in for surgery for prostate cancer. Make sure your husband, partner, brother, father, grandparent gets regular checkups at the doctors, including a screening for prostate cancer. 

Our story began…

martie and her husband hold hands

Martie's Story

Martie Grof-Iannelli is a loving mother, wife and happily retired Librarian and University Instructor. For twenty-three years, she taught in the Master’s program of Library and Information Science at Western, and later became the Senior Manager of Library and Media Services at Fanshawe.

Martie enjoys editing written works in her spare time and has always dreamed of writing her own novel. Eight years ago, cancer was the furthest thing from her mind; little did she know her life would be uprooted with an unexpected cancer diagnosis. Years later, Martie longs to give back by…

emma with her horse

Emma Holden

Emma Holden is a spirited 21-year-old with a big heart. She loves being close to her family, her pets and her friends. So when a friend of Emma’s passed away from suicide four years ago, it was a devastating loss for her. This tragic event opened up many questions for Emma and lead her to learn more about her own struggles with mental health.

Emma struggles with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and is very open about her diagnosis. Her hope is to educate others and reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness.

“I am definitely a huge advocate for mental…

scott with friend and hockey sticks

Scott Gagnon

Scott Gagnon (left) has had a passion for sports for as long as he can remember. In high school he dedicated his time to a long list of competitive sports, playing hockey, soccer and volleyball almost every day of the week.

It was during high school that Scott, now 26, noticed a growing pain in both of his knees while he was playing sports. Eventually, the pain became so unbearable that he sought help from the professionals at Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic (FKSMC). He began working with Dr. Lisa Fischer, who discovered that he was suffering from Patellofemoral pain…

Vanya Lang

Vanya Lang undergoes a routine heart procedure, but complications occur when her heart begins to bleed. She codes multiple times – going into cardiopulmonary arrest – and needs to be moved to the operating room (OR). Her team wheels her gurney through the hospital, but she is crashing and there’s no time to make it to the OR.

Her surgeon begins operating on her in the elevator while manually pumping her heart with his hand to keep her alive. As she slips into a coma, her family is called to prepare for the worst… this may be the last time they see her. 

Mercifully,…

David and Marilyn Conklin

Sepsis and blood clots are two very different, but very real threats to a person’s health, but now, thanks to a generous donation from David and Marilyn Conklin, new research and treatments are on the horizon for both of these conditions.

David and Marilyn were each faced with a health crisis that required life-saving treatments at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC).

After their recovery, the couple wanted to thank and acknowledge the hard work of the doctors who saved their lives; Dr. Michael Kovacs and Dr. Tina Mele. To show their appreciation, they decided to make…

Rashad wearing a cranial halo

Rashad Qutob

In 2004, 21-year-old Rashad experienced the scare of a lifetime while driving home to London, from Windsor Ontario. Seemingly out of nowhere, he had experienced his first-ever seizure, and lost control of the wheel while he fell unconscious. Thankfully, his friends in the passenger’s seats were able to stop the car safely without anyone else getting injured. To this day, Rashad has no memory of what happened.

After the terrifying incident, Rashad was referred to London Health Sciences Centre and was later diagnosed with epilepsy. This seemed strange to Rashad since he had never had…

Kirstie Leedham

From as young as four years old, Kirstie Leedham, who grew up in Chatham, remembers climbing into the little storage unit underneath her oldest brother’s bed when she was feeling scared or anxious – the cozy nook would bring a sense of comfort and peace.

More than 20 years later, this pastime would answer many significant questions for Kirstie, who would undergo a long and difficult mental health journey before getting to that point. 

It began with not being able to get out of bed. She slept all day and all night and missed two months of grade seven. Then, she was…