Stories of Inspiration

Patients’ journeys drive our commitment to create a world-class health experience. Our patient's stories of care and recovery inspire us every day.

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It’s not every day that a hospital gets to experience a wedding. But on a hot July day at Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital, if you were to step into our Antonio and Clara Battistella and Family Multi-Faith Room, you would have seen a young couple standing at the front of the room reciting their vows before the large windows overlooking the Spiritual Care courtyard.

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Karen Cilevitz and Derek Christie felt they had done everything right. They followed public health rules, stayed home as much as possible, kept to a very small social bubble of close family and friends and patiently waited for their turn to roll up their sleeves to get the COVID-19 vaccine. But in April 2021, their lives changed forever.

Read Karen Cilevitz and Derek Christie's story

Sharon Tay had never been admitted to hospital. She was a healthy, active 62-year-old, who was always diligent about her annual check ups and doctor visits. So, when she received an unexpected call following a standard bone density test and mammogram in March 2021, she immediately had a sinking feeling something was wrong.

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For 33 years, Bernard Lock worked at IBM where he was tasked with standardizing the design and structure of computer operating systems. Little did Bernie know that decades later, it would be technology that would save him from COVID-19.

Read Bernie and Shoshana's story

In a matter of two months, 70-year-old Rebecca’s life was turned upside down. COVID-19 swept through her life like a tidal wave, first taking her husband into its fold and then pulling her in too.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has posed many challenges for the ongoing care of hospitalized patients. At Mackenzie Health, we are implementing an innovative way to support the transition of hospitalized patients to the community through the use of virtual visits.

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Linda has always treasured the moments spent with her son and twin granddaughters. Over the years, she has passed along a love of reading to her granddaughters – a passion they share to this day. Linda came to Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital for a surgical procedure and shortly into her recovery, she was informed that Mackenzie Health would be implementing changes to the visitor policy to keep patients and hospital staff safe as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to evolve.

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Christina always dreamed of being a mom and after marrying her long-time sweetheart Ben, they began planning to start a family. To their surprise, Christina and Ben had a difficult time getting pregnant. The couple consulted a fertility specialist and after a successful first round of in vitro fertilization (IVF) became pregnant.

Christina’s pregnancy progressed as expected up until the seven-month mark. “One morning, I woke up with extreme head pain. I felt foggy and my vision started to blur,” says Christina. 

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When Stephen Koehler was rushed to the hospital because of excruciating pains in his abdomen, he didn’t know he was about to face the toughest fight of his life. Stephen had already been through a lot for someone who just turned 30 — things like getting kicked out of high school, checking into rehab and his youngest daughter being born with a rare congenital condition.

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For Lindsay Thompson, art has become her therapy – her happy place – as she continues to cope with and manage her mental illness. At the age of 17, Lindsay was diagnosed with schizophrenia and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) at Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital (at the time York Central).

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A routine golf day turned out to be a life-changing event for David Randall. While on the course, David’s wife Michelle noticed he had started to turn grey. He was not feeling well and agreed to go to the hospital, and they prepared to leave. Within minutes, David went into cardiac arrest. A nearby off-duty nurse and a friend with CPR training rushed to his aid.

Read more about David's story