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Michele’s Story


Though I’ve never been a patient, I owe my life as I know it to the staff at St. Mary’s. They have been there for me – for my family – time and again, when we needed them most.

My first panicked trip to the Cardiac ICU at St. Mary’s Regional Cardiac Care Centre was 12 years ago. My husband, Mike, had a heart attack. In an instant our world was turned upside down.

Mike was just 39 and we had two young kids at home. I knew his father had died of a heart attack at a very young age, leaving his mother alone with 9 children. My worst fear was that history was about to repeat itself. I think the nurse could see it on my face; the look of disbelief. She quietly sat down beside me and held my hand. Her reassuring words let me know we were in the right place. Within 24 hours of arriving, Mike received a life-saving angioplasty to clear the blockages in his heart.

Following Mike’s urgent trip to St. Mary’s I didn’t want to ever see the inside of the hospital again. I had no idea that would only be the first in what has turned out to be numerous life-saving cardiac interventions for my family. In fact, since that day, my father has experienced two separate bouts of emergency cardiac care, and at the age of 48, Mike suffered another massive heart attack.

Each time I remember thinking “can this really be happening again?” You would honestly assume that I would have become immune to the shock, but I wasn’t. At least when it happened, I knew exactly where we needed to go.

The trips from Palmerston and Listowel to Kitchener for emergency treatments, cardiologist visits and rehabilitation were nothing compared to what it would have been like if we had to travel to London, Hamilton or even further to Toronto.  The Cardiac Centre absolutely needs to be in our community. It needs to be this close. I wouldn’t wish our experience on anyone, though I know that it’s not unique.

St. Mary’s has given me a miraculous gift – 12 years building memories with the men that I love. I’ve watched my husband walk our oldest daughter down the aisle on her wedding day. We’ve seen our youngest daughter off to college. I’ve held Mike next to me as we celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary. And I’ve stared in awe as both my husband and my dad held our first grandchild, my father’s first great-grandchild, in their arms, because St. Mary’s was there.

Today we actively support St. Mary’s in every way we can, knowing we may need their care again someday.  I hope you’ll find it in your heart to do the same. Help families, like ours, continue to experience all of life’s important memories, together.

From our grateful home to yours, best wishes.


Michele deBoer and family