Meet Grateful Patients
Reta Ismail and her son Nero

Reta Ismail

CTV's Reta Ismail shares her story with London Health Sciences Foundation:

I remember the moment my son Nero was born like it was yesterday. For the first time in my life, I felt my heart beating on the outside. It was truly the best moment of my life being able to hold him in my arms and kissing his little forehead for the very first time.

He will be turning five this coming August and it feels as if time has flown by. I am now pregnant with baby number two. But this is not my second pregnancy. Like many women, I have suffered from pregnancy loss, twice in…

Tony and Marian de Boer

Tony de Boer

Can you imagine travelling out of town for a full hip replacement in the morning and still being home in time for dinner? Tony de Boer experienced this twice – the right hip one year and the left one the next. He shares his story below: 

For me, life is always in motion. Whether it’s riding my snowmobile, travelling with my wife Marian, or running the family business – a physically demanding job in an industrial knitting factory in Exeter – I’m constantly on the go. So when I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my early forties, I was devastated.


Lenore Rawlings

Lenore Rawlings

In the past seven years, Lenore Rawlings has been through one life-threatening health scare after the other. 

In 2011, she and her husband George pulled over near their home in McGregor, Ontario, when a pickup truck that veered off the road struck them. Lenore suffered a blood clot in her lung, which left her in a coma and clinging to life in intensive care.

Coming close to death several times, doctors in Windsor performed six tracheotomies to open her airway. Lenore tenaciously pulled through each trauma, spending four months in the hospital before…

Tyler Bryden

Tyler Bryden

The newest member of the Mental Health Campaign Cabinet at London Health Sciences Foundation (LHSF) is a business owner, philanthropist, hockey player and grateful patient – all at only 25-years-old. 

Just four years ago, Tyler was in a much darker place in his life. After a suicide attempt almost took his life, he reached out from the crushing depression that enveloped him.

“I need help,” he admitted to his family. His mother drove him to Victoria Hospital. 

Years earlier, Tyler’s journey with depression began when he was a child. His home life was…

PEPP Program

Steve's Story

Steve is a 41-year-old Londoner, Western graduate and avid hockey fan. He explains how his favorite team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, has improved over the last few years.

“They’ve been doing well. The old saying goes – if you’ve hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up – and that’s with anything in life.”

Six years ago, Steve experienced rock bottom. His mental health began to deteriorate, and he attempted to take his own life. After a long recovery in hospital, he was referred to London Health Sciences Centre’s PEPP Program (Prevention & Early Intervention…

The Patient Assistance Fund includes complimentary bus tickets

Andrew's Story

When Andrew moved to London from Mississauga to care for his 67-year-old aunt who has Alzheimer’s disease, he found himself in an unpredictable and sometimes chaotic environment. He faced daily responsibilities of housework, cooking and grocery shopping in addition to being on high alert in the event she compromised her own safety, like leaving the stove on. Eventually, Andrew felt overwhelmed and exhausted with no time to pursue a life outside of caring for his aunt.

“There’s a huge strain on me. There’s so many things I desire to do like have a…

PEPP Program

Sabrina's Story

Sabrina Pont is a doting mother of two, a housekeeper at the Hampton Inn in London and enjoys spending time with her loving boyfriend and children. She is often a pillar of support for her friends and family, who describe her as “a big sweetheart with a huge heart.”

Three years ago, it was those same friends and family who served as Sabrina’s own pillar of support when she began experiencing frightening mental health symptoms.

When her son Dreyden was four years old, Sabrina started hearing voices. Over time, the voices got louder and more prominent.  She couldn’t…

Ben Zwart and his family

Ben Zwart

Ben Zwart has always lived an active lifestyle – he enjoys snowboarding and playing squash, hockey and other sports with his sons.

About eight years ago, he began experiencing knee pain. The pain eventually got so severe that he had to give up the active lifestyle he loved.

Ben’s physiotherapist suggested he visit Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic (FKSMC). 

“I had never heard of the place, but was amazed to learn that such a world-class facility exists right here in London,” Ben said. 

He met with Dr. Robert Giffin, Dr. Lisa…

Karolanne and Peter

Karolanne Bolton

In December 2005 just before the holiday season, Karolanne Bolton was delivered four life-changing words. "You have breast cancer.” However, after 30 years of working in finance at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) and decades as a volunteer raising money for the hospital, she knew she was in the best hands.

This could not have been more clear than on the day she had a mastectomy.

As she arrived ready for surgery at London Regional Cancer Program inside LHSC, Karolanne was greeted by familiar faces lined up on each side of the hallway. These faces were of past and…

Connie Kuc

Connie Kuc

After surviving cancer, Connie Kuc thought the worst of her health concerns were behind her. But an all-too-common disorder crept its way into her life, eventually affecting almost every moment in her day.

It began as bladder pressure and pain, which became more intense over time. Soon the sensation was too much, leading to incontinence.  

“One day, my husband and I were driving down a rural road on the way to pick up a new puppy,” Connie said. “The pressure hit me all of a sudden and I desperately needed to pull over, but we were surrounded by open farm land with…

Tory Struyf

When crisis strikes, even the most strong-willed and independent must entrust their lives to the hands of others. Such was the case for Tory Struyf, a hardworking mother from Lambton Shores, Ontario.

Pregnant for the third time, Tory thought she knew what to expect when it came to childbirth. Life was business-as-usual as she worked triple duty as a full-time Agricultural Account Manager off-farm, supported the family poultry and crop farm, and cared for her two toddlers. 

When she was 31 weeks pregnant, an ultrasound revealed the first sign of complications: a…

Martha McDougall

Martha McDougall

Can you imagine if your heart stopped for 87 minutes? This was the reality for Martha McDougall of London, who survived this incredible ordeal at 30 years old with the help of London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC).

In late January 2013, Martha – a first-time mother who was 37 weeks pregnant – started experiencing flu-like symptoms and dizzy spells. One night while walking into her kitchen, she blacked out. Her husband Marc immediately called 911 and Martha was rushed to LHSC.

At LHSC’s Victoria Hospital, doctors discovered that Martha had a blood clot in her groin…

Ted Velikonja Cycling Hannibal's Trail

Ted Velikonja

At age 56, Ted Velikonja is definitely not a spectator on the sidelines. He’s an active cyclist who can boast riding seven of the most challenging cycling routes in the world including the Tour de France. However, Ted would not have successfully completed his goal if it wasn’t for the orthopaedic care found at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC).

When he was 45, after a ski accident led to treatment and physiotherapy at LHSC’s Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic, Ted was determined to keep his newly healed body active and fit. He began running, then cross training with…

Bonita Stevenson

Bonita Stevenson

When Bonita Stevenson was diagnosed with breast cancer in April of 2013, she immediately underwent surgery and was put on a rigorous schedule of chemotherapy and radiation. Within a year, she was on the path to recovery after completing her treatment and taking an anti-hormone drug to prevent the spread of cancer.

One year later, in January of 2015, everything changed. She was walking her dog on a cold, wintry day, when she slipped on an icy patch and fell. She went to be treated for her injury and to her shock, found out the drug had been ineffective and the cancer had spread.…

Gord Henry

Gord Henry

Olympic rower. Entrepreneur. Husband. Father. Now, add “cowboy” to Gord Henry’s resume, a term affectionately coined by London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) physician Dr. Ian Chin-Yee.

Gord’s journey with LHSC began in February of 2013. He drove himself to the emergency room one night after pain and illness made sleeping impossible. The staff took x-rays of his chest, revealing three sources of Gord’s pain: pneumonia, a partially collapsed lung…

Sharon Doward

Sharon Doward

Sharon Doward was enjoying a holiday with her husband when she began feeling back pain that hit her hard and fast. Within a few months, the pain was so intense that she could barely eat, sleep or walk.

She had to take a leave from her job and found herself isolated at home; no longer able to do what she loved most – walking her dog. Her active life had come to a sudden halt. 

An MRI performed at London Health Sciences Centre revealed a cyst on Sharon’s spine that required surgery. When Sharon met with Dr. Parham Rasoulinejad, who would be performing the surgery,…

Jessica Drummond

Although invisible from the outside, Jessica Drummond always carries with her a memento from LHSC – four titanium clips that were surgically affixed to repair her skull after a terrible accident.

Jessica, a newcomer to Listowel, Ontario, was walking to the local community garden when a truck hit her. Her skull was severely fractured.

“She was in an ambulance being rushed to London, and I was terrified,” says her husband Jason. “We’d only been married for 10 months. I couldn’t lose her.”

Brain surgery was required to save Jessica’s life. “I could sense the expertise…

Laura Briscoe

Laura Briscoe always imagined that her parents would be there on her wedding day, but when her mother was diagnosed with liver cancer, that dream was no longer a certainty.

“Innovation in health care is important to our family and from our perspective because it saves lives.”
-- Laura Briscoe

David Renwick

David’s journey with anxiety and depression had begun two years earlier, triggered by significant work stress. He became harder and harder on himself. His relentless anxiety led to difficulty sleeping and unhealthy weight loss, a colleague suggested that he visit his doctor.

“Eventually all I could get was two hours of sleep. I was having panic attacks in the middle of the night,” says David. “I experienced some very dark thoughts.”

He needed to take a leave from work. With the support of his employer and the care and concern of his wife Jane and the rest of his family,…

Kelly Tranquilli

Kelly Tranquilli found the lump in her breast on Christmas Day in 2004 and after a grim diagnosis, it was her son who welcomed his mother back in a very special way.

"If we all work together, that is how innovation comes to be, and that benefits all of us."
-- Kelly Tranquilli

Gino Ianni

What began as a regular workday for millwright Gino Ianni suddenly became the worst day of his life. A portion of the 1,200-pound piece of equipment he was installing fell over, crushing his leg. Within minutes, he was in an ambulance on his way to LHSC.

“I was in a lot of pain. I thought I just had a broken leg,” he says. “I didn’t know how serious it was until the resident said, ‘Your injury is beyond me. You need my boss and we’re pulling him out of surgery.’ Then I was scared.”

Dr. Abdel-Rahman Lawendy performed an emergency procedure to save Gino’s leg. The muscles had…

Nick Paparella

Nick Paparella feared that his active life was behind him after being diagnosed with a heart condition, but Cardiac Care team at LHSC got him back up and running.

"London Health Sciences Centre...they’re truly helping out people and they are making a difference and changing lives for the better."
-- Nick Paparella

Mindy Williamson

When Mindy Williamson was first diagnosed with uterine fibroids more than 20 years ago, she had no idea what they were or the toll they would take on her life.


“It has made my life so much better."
-- Mindy Williamson


Paul Griffiths

Paul Griffiths was told that his coronary arteries were 90 per cent blocked, and that he was a walking time bomb for a heart attack – and it was his LHSC colleagues who saved his life.

Can you imagine depending on your co-workers to save your life? This is exactly what happened to operating room nurse Paul Griffiths.

Paul, who accepted his first job at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) in 1975 and even met his wife Donna there, was an RN in his 50s when he started getting sick to his stomach each morning. This came as a surprise, since Paul seemed to be in good health…


Tammy Ross

Coming to terms with breast cancer was just the first step for Tammy Ross and her husband, as Tammy still had to tell her children, including her eldest daughter, 11-year-old Gabrielle.

In early September, Tammy Ross - a mother of four from London - was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, the most common form of breast cancer. Coming to terms with the diagnosis herself and with her husband was only the first step, as Tammy still had to tell her children, including her eldest daughter, 11-year-old Gabrielle.

"We explained to Gabby that mommy has breast cancer and will…