Legacy Of Past Donors Gives Patient A Second Chance: UHN

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    It’s never too early or too late to start planning your estate, and while it may seem complicated, leaving a gift in your will is one of the easiest and most powerful ways to make a difference. 

    By planning a charitable gift in your estate to UHN Foundation, you can support groundbreaking research the will save the lives of people just like Patrick, who experienced a sudden and life-threatening health issue. 

    An Unexpected Diagnosis

    When Patrick Himmelheber couldn’t catch his breath during his first recreational hockey game of the season, he thought he had let himself get out of shape over the summer.

    “It was very weird to be so short of breath because I’m a pretty fit person and exercised regularly,” he recalls. “But every time I exerted myself, even to go up the stairs, I couldn’t breathe.”

    After an appointment with his family doctor, a CT scan revealed that Patrick had blood clots in both of his lungs. He was immediately sent to the emergency department, put on blood thinners and admitted overnight for observation.

    A High-Risk Surgery Was Patrick’s Only Hope

    Patrick was diagnosed with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH), a serious and often deadly condition where scar tissue causes masses that get caught in the lung’s vessels and block the blood flow. Left untreated, individuals with CTEPH can die within three to five years. 

    Patrick needed a complicated surgery with a high risk of mortality, called a pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PEA). PEA is one of the most challenging procedures to teach and learn, and it is only offered at a few specialized centres in the world. 

    Fortunately, University Health Network (UHN) is one of these centres.

    He was referred to world-renowned thoracic surgeon, Dr. Marc de Perrot, Surgical Director of the Pulmonary Hypertension/CTEPH Program at UHN, and less than a month after his consultation, Patrick underwent an eight-hour surgery to separate and remove the scar tissue from his lungs’ arteries.

    Following his surgery, Patrick felt an immediate difference. Since then, he and his wife have welcomed a child, and he’s back to working out and enjoying life with his wife and daughter.

    Healthcare Innovation Saves Countless Lives

    Looking back, Patrick realizes just how serious his condition was, and takes nothing for granted. 

    “Thanks to the exceptional care and effort of the doctors and nurses at [UHN], I am alive and get to enjoy every day as a gift with my family,” says Patrick.

    With a newfound understanding of the importance of research and innovation to patient care, he felt inspired to become a donor and volunteer through UHN Foundation. He wants to give back to the hospital that saved his life and encourages others to do the same. 

    Philanthropy Fuels Transformative Care

    Many people choose to plan ahead and leave a charitable gift in their will to support UHN’s life-saving work. These gifts ensure a safety net of funding for UHN’s future needs – from attracting the brightest medical minds like Dr. de Perrot, to fuelling the next major discovery that will transform patient care for the better.

    You might be surprised to learn there are significant tax benefits to leaving a future gift – and it’s easier than you might think. You can also take care of your loved ones AND make an impact on health care for future generations – you don’t have to choose one or the other!

    A Small Thing You Do Now Could Be The Start Of Something Big.

    With a gift in your will, a healthier world could be your legacy. 

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