Help patients like Brad today.

“It’s a chilling thought, but without RVH, it’s likely that I never would have survived.”

Brad Ross, Grateful Patient

The day I ended up at RVH started just like any other day. The problem was, I didn’t feel normal. I did a work out at home and then started to do some laundry. As my daughter called for a chat, I began to notice that I still hadn’t caught my breath from my workout. It’s surreal to think that this casual catch-up with her could have been the last time I ever spoke with my daughter.

I’m a relatively fit guy, so feeling out of breath for this long was unusual for me. My chest felt heavy, like someone had piled a stack of books on it. Then pain started to radiate around my back and down my arms. I broke out into a sweat.

I had no idea that in under two hours, I would be at RVH, recovering from a massive heart attack.

RVH is fortunate to have the support of generous donors, but they need every one of us. While you’re making plans to celebrate with your family and friends in the coming days and weeks, I hope you can take a moment to acknowledge how vitally important it is to have access to world-class healthcare in our region. Without it, our communities, families, and friends cannot enjoy their lives to the fullest.

“I am here today because of the leading-edge technology at RVH and because of people like you.”

Brad Ross, Grateful Patient

I now know firsthand how important it is to have such quality healthcare so close to home. After I hung up with my daughter, I tried to lay down for a bit. But the pain kept getting worse, so I finally asked my wife to call an ambulance.

My wife’s 911 call instantly triggered the Simcoe Muskoka Code STEMI protocol. As I soon learned, when it comes to heart attacks, minutes matter. The quicker a patient having a severe heart attack has the blocked artery reopened, the better the chances are for survival and less permanent damage to the heart.

That’s one more reason I’m so glad I live here. The Code STEMI protocol is the gold standard of care. It makes sure a patient experiencing a suspected heart attack is brought directly to RVH’s advanced cardiac team within 120 minutes of their first medical contact, no matter where they live in the region.

Last year, more than 370 patients like me were rushed to RVH for emergency cardiac care through Code STEMI. Your generosity makes it possible for these patients to have another chance at life.

They whisked me up a dedicated elevator in the Emergency Department and brought me straight to the Cardiac Cath Lab. My left artery was completely blocked, preventing oxygen from getting to my heart. I was having what they call a widow maker heart attack.

The Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cardiac team prepare for the insertion of a stent during a code STEMI procedure.

They call it the widow maker for a reason: most people who have this kind of artery blockage don’t make it. I will forever be grateful for the quick and effective care I received at RVH – and to the people like you who made possible access to this kind of life-saving care, close to home.

The cardiologist went in through an artery in my wrist, found the blockage and inserted a stent to open the clogged artery in my heart. Almost immediately, I felt relief. The blood flow was back, and I felt like I could breathe. It was as though everything was suddenly back to normal.

I still can’t believe how fast it all happened. The time of the 911 call, to when I was recovering in the Cardiac Care Unit at RVH, was 90 minutes. That is remarkable.

I am here today because of the expert medical teams and leading-edge technology available at RVH, and, because of people like you who help ensure this type of care is available close to home. I am grateful to be able to live my wild life, the life I love, to the fullest.

I’m hardly alone in my gratitude. Last year, close to 2,800 patients required advanced cardiac care at RVH. I was cared for in the intensive Cardiac Care Unit, a highly-specialized unit staffed and equipped to care for patients with serious cardiac conditions that require advanced monitoring and/or interventions.

Donations from people like you help support areas of care like the Cardiac Renal Unit for patients with heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory or gastrointestinal issues. And there’s also the Cardiac Intervention Unit, where life-saving procedures are performed every day.

Here’s the truth: we can’t live a good life, our wild life, unless we have our health. Don’t you agree? That’s what the Keep Life Wild campaign is all about – ensuring RVH can provide early diagnostics, more advanced procedures, and better medical outcomes so that if you ever find yourself in my place, you can get back to the life you love sooner.

Thanks to the quick actions of the team at RVH, there’s no discernible damage to my heart. I feel great, and I’m already back living the wild life I love.

Brad Ross

As more and more people move to this region – just like my wife and I did a few years ago – the demand for RVH’s specialized services is growing.

Right now, heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada. Over the next decade, as the population of Simcoe Muskoka grows, RVH’s cardiac unit needs to expand to keep up with the expected demand and continue saving lives.

You can make that happen. By donating today, you’ll help protect our unique way of life by ensuring RVH has the space, technology, and equipment to continue providing world-class cardiac and other specialized care to everyone in our region.

Your gift will support the purchase of state-of-the-art technology such as endo-cardiography, portable heart monitors, and cardiac MRI to quickly diagnose cardiac conditions. You’ll also help build specialized facilities such as an urgent cardiology clinic to prevent life-threatening heart events, and an additional suite for pacemaker and stent deployment. And you’ll help build and equip the new facility in Innisfil, so folks in that part of our region can access life-saving cardiac care even more quickly.

Thanks to the quick actions of the team at RVH, there’s no discernible damage to my heart. I feel great, and I’m already back living the wild life I love. I’m following my doctor’s instructions, including making a few lifestyle changes and participating in RVH’s virtual Cardiac Rehabilitation Day Program. After four decades in the public service, I am starting a second career as a barber. I have RVH to thank for that second lease on life.

I hope that me sharing my story has shown you what a profound impact your gift to RVH can have. You hold the power to ensure that patients like me can share another precious holiday season with their families.

When you give, you give more than just a donation. You give families the joy of reunions, the warmth of laughter, and the joy of being together. You are their lifeline. You certainly were mine.