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Aaron’s story


“Those were the worst five months of my life.” reflects Aaron Brokenshire, referring to his wait in the spring of 2015 for heart rhythm treatment at a London hospital.

Afraid to exercise for fear of triggering another episode, Aaron grew anxious and worried. “Not doing much made my anxiety worse. I was depressed, couldn’t sleep, and didn’t want to take phone calls or see anyone” states Aaron. “I felt so weak and tired. I couldn’t pick my kids up, or explain to them what was going on. Brutal.  The whole thing was brutal.”

At the time of his cardiac incident, Aaron Brokenshire was 43, athletic, physically fit and engaged professionally in coaching athletes at his Waterloo gym. By all accounts he was very healthy. He had no idea that his sometimes racing heartbeat was abnormal. Following a frightening emergency room visit at St. Mary’s, Aaron was diagnosed with Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT), which meant an extra electrical pathway in his heart caused it to beat in excess of 240 beats per minute. The average resting heart rate is between 60 and 100.

But for Aaron and his young family the
diagnosis was just the beginning.

“I thought, ‘Okay, I have made the decision to have surgery to treat it. I will get in next week and then I will heal and we can move on.’ But when I found out it would still be months before my scheduled surgery, I knew things weren’t going to go as I had planned.”

“Aaron has always been active and highly energetic. But his diagnosis left him afraid of over exerting himself.” His wife Angela recalls. “He was so depressed. He just wasn’t himself. It was really tough on our whole family.”

“Today I’m in the best shape of my life, despite having dealt with SVT. I was up and back to exercising a week after surgery” says Aaron. “The nature of being sick and then working towards recovery is something people can, I think, come to terms with. It’s the waiting that opens up your mind to all kinds of opportunity for negative thought.”

St. Mary’s Regional Cardiac Care Centre is a nationally recognized facility, fully equipped to treat issues of the heart related to arteries and blood flow for residents of Waterloo Region and beyond. Concerning, however, is the fact that St. Mary’s is the only Cardiac Centre in the province without a fully functioning Heart Rhythm program. is means patients seeking treatment for issues related to electrical current and rhythm must travel outside the region for care, where they will wait – on average – 100 days to receive treatment.

St. Mary’s aims to cut wait times for patients like Aaron in half.

Over the past few years, St. Mary’s has asked for the community’s help to bring heart rhythm service to our Region.  With facilities slated to open in the late fall of 2017, we are closer now than ever to our goal. Help us raise the remaining funds needed to make the vision of a complete Cardiac Care Centre in Waterloo Region, a reality. Your gift ensures that our community has access to the vital care it needs and deserves, close to home.

Wishing you and your loved ones good health and happiness this holiday season.

St. Mary’s General Hospital