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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Kathleen is an extraordinary person. As a retired school librarian and mother of two, she’s always had the drive to get up and go.

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Like many parents in our community, Claudio and Monia experienced first-hand what it’s like to have a child fall ill during the ongoing spike of respiratory illnesses being seen across Ontario.

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On a warm spring day, Wendo Bacnis and his wife Rosalie were out celebrating their daughter Ada’s 25th birthday. After a satisfying sushi meal, the Bacnis family returned home for what they thought would be another regular evening. Rosalie and Ada took their dog for a walk, and Wendo chose to relax by the TV as he was feeling a little fatigued. Little did he know, this was the beginning of his stroke journey.   

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A little over a year ago, as an 18 year-old, Austin found himself needing open-heart surgery. A tough situation to be in for a person of any age. Shortly after his surgery, he was admitted to hospital with pericarditis – a swelling of the saclike tissue around the heart. During this visit, Austin’s blood sugar was tested and it was discovered that he was also a type-one diabetic.

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That’s where Marilyn was – watching the Olympics with her daughter Jennifer and knitting – when she noticed she was struggling, strangely, to move her hands in the familiar motions. Wanting to alert Jennifer, she found she was unable to move or communicate at all. She was experiencing her first stroke.

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Family physicians play a crucial role in ensuring their patients are screened regularly for breast cancer. A timely referral can lead to early detection and better health outcomes.

The Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) recommends women between 50 and 74 years of age be screened every two years for breast cancer. Felicia Prokopetz was 56 when her new family physician, Dr. Small, flagged that she had not yet had her first mammogram. Given her age, it was time to make a referral.

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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.

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