HSC Staff Member Lands on Other Side of Hospital Bed Post-stroke

After almost 20 years of employment at Health Sciences Centre, Christine Preachuk unexpectedly found herself in a new role—the role of a stroke patient.

Preachuk has provided compassionate care to countless individuals as Interim Manager of Diagnostic Imaging in X-Ray and Mammography at HSC, and prior to that as a General Duty X-Ray Technologist and Clinical Educator. However, it never occurred to her when she felt lightheaded the morning of May 1, 2018, that she, herself, was experiencing a stroke.

The morning began normally. Preachuk, who was 46 at the time, bent over to get something out of the fridge and, upon standing up, experienced strong lightheadedness. “I wasn’t in pain, but I felt different—off. I stood there for a minute and tried to shake it off. But then, when I tried to walk, my left leg was dragging. At first, I thought that I had put something out in my back. I sat there for a few minutes thinking maybe it’ll pass, maybe it’s nothing.”

Preachuk’s husband helped her perform the F.A.S.T. test (an essential, self-diagnostic tool for people concerned they might be having a stroke), and upon finding that Preachuk’s numbness was now throughout her left arm and leg, they rushed to the HSC Emergency Department. Here, Preachuk was sent for a CT scan and an MRI—an odd experience as both were conducted by the department she works in.

“It was strange coming in as a patient; however, the team was nothing but professional, and the care was top notch. There is nowhere else I would have rather been,” said Preachuk.

Christine Preachuk with part of the team she manages in the Diagnostic Imaging Department at HSC.

The tests came back with results that Preachuk had suspected but had hoped feverishly against—she had a small stroke and would have to be admitted to the hospital as a neurological patient. And there was more. Because of her young age, staff wanted to test her heart as many under the age of 55 who had strokes were then diagnosed with a patent foramen ovale (PFO), a hole in the wall of the heart between the left and right atriums. Unfortunately, this proved to be the case for Preachuk.

The following days were a flurry of tests and physiotherapy. A former dancer and current Technical Director for the Rusalka Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, Preachuk was shocked at how this experience had affected her physically.

“I don’t think I realized how weak I was until I started physio,” Preachuk shared. “I had to rise on my toes on each leg individually. As a dancer, this is a motion I am used to. The right leg was fine, but I couldn’t when I tried to rise on my left leg. At that moment, it really hit me—I broke down and started crying. I realized I would probably be dealing with the change my whole life.”

Christine Preachuk, Technical Director for the Rusalka Ukrainian Dance Ensemble and former dancer, and her husband, former Rusalka dancer, with their children following their children’s performance with Rusalka as part of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Nutcracker. // Christine Preachuk (far right) is grateful for the support of her family post-stroke.

With the help of HSC’s Stroke Clinic, Preachuk has worked to find ways to deal with her new normal, both physically and cognitively. While grateful that she has largely been able to return to life as she knew it previously, including her work at HSC and with Rusalka, there are days when the lingering effects leave her feeling weak and unable to concentrate. These invisible long-term effects can be particularly isolating for stroke patients.

“It is hard to explain and for others to understand what it feels like. When you have a physical ailment that is visible to everyone, people are more likely to understand. However, when you are struggling cognitively, it is very hard. A lot of people struggle to understand what it feels like.”

Preachuk credits the ongoing support of her family and co-workers, as well as the staff at HSC’s Stroke Clinic, for their help in her recovery. She also thanks HSC Foundation donors for their generosity, something that she has now experienced as both an employee and a patient.

“We have a large team of specialists at HSC who deal with strokes daily. The quicker they get the assessment, the faster treatment can happen, and the better the outcome,” she says. “Without the Foundation and the support of donors, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do to support positive outcomes.

“I’m proud to be part of the team at HSC. I’m proud to be part of the diagnostic imaging department. We truly are Manitoba’s hospital.”

Annual HSC Millionaire Lottery Launches Today

Total prizes of up to $2.14M in support of HSC, Manitoba’s hospital

WINNIPEG, MB—September 8, 2022. You could become Manitoba’s next millionaire. From now until Thursday, November 17, tickets for the Health Sciences Centre (HSC) Foundation’s 2022 HSC Millionaire Lottery are available for purchase. This year’s lottery boasts over 2,000 prizes to be won, with six grand-prize options—including a $1.25 million in tax-free cash option. Proceeds help support advancements in vital medical research, purchase state-of-the-art equipment, and enhance HSC Winnipeg facilities. 

“Lottery supporters are integral in making improvements to patient care, as well as facility and equipment upgrades,” says HSC Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Jonathon Lyon. “As we focus on Operation Excellence, our largest-ever fundraising campaign, lottery ticket buyers will have a direct role in helping end surgical wait times and refocusing HSC as a surgical centre of excellence and innovation.”

The HSC Millionaire Lottery features six grand-prize options:

  1. Maric Homes: Sage Creek ($1.6 million package): A beautiful new home from one of Winnipeg’s most trusted builders—Maric Homes—to be built at 272 Yellow Moon Crescent in Winnipeg. Surrounded by shopping, dining, nature, trails, parks, playgrounds, and the Sage Creek Village Centre, it’s a perfect community for any family, neighbouring St. Vital and St. Boniface, and only 20 minutes from downtown Winnipeg. This package also includes a 2022 BMW X3 30e PHEV, $10,000 in travel from CWT Harvey’s Travel, $20,000 in gift cards for gas and groceries from Co-op, and $350,000 cash.
  1. Sterling Homes: Sage Creek ($1.51 million package): This 2,680 sq. ft., two-storey (plus basement), three-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom house by Sterling Homes features an open floor plan, entertainment area and fireplace with culture stone, upgraded cabinetry and closets, LED lighting and audio packages, and built-in appliances. To be built at 239 Yellow Moon Crescent in Winnipeg, this package also includes a 2023 BMW iX xDrive40, a 2022 Ford F-150 Platinum Model, a $4,000 Inn at the Forks/ Riverstone Spa/ Smith Restaurant gift card, $20,000 in gift cards for gas and groceries from Co-op, and $300,000 cash.
  1. BC Ocean Cottage: Vancouver Island, BC ($1.48 million package): This 1,041 sq. ft. two-bedroom, two full bathroom condo with in-suite laundry includes a parking spot. This ground-level condo, with beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean, is to be built at 75A-1000 Silver Spray Drive in Sooke, BC. This package includes a 2022 Tesla Model 3, a 2023 BMW iX xDrive40, $10,000 in travel from CWT Harvey’s Travel, a $4,000 Inn at the Forks/ Riverstone Spa/ Smith Restaurant gift card, $20,000 in gift cards for gas and groceries from Co-op, and $100,000 cash.
  1. Artista Homes: RidgeWood West ($1.47 million package): Welcome home to Charleswood! This two-storey, 2,209 sq. ft. house by Artista Homes (to be built at 47 Eliuk Cove in Winnipeg) features 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, plus a full basement, and is located in a wonderful family community in RidgeWood West—among relaxing nature and walking trails, but within a stone’s throw of the city’s conveniences and fun.This package also includes a 2023 Porsche Taycan 4S, a 2023 BMW iX xDrive40, a $10,000 in travel CWT Harvey’s Travel, a $4,000 Inn at the Forks/ Riverstone Spa/ Smith Restaurant gift card, $20,000 in gift cards for gas and groceries from Co-op, and $300,000 cash.
  1. Daytona Homes: Aurora at North Point ($1.41 million package): This 2,079 sq. ft., two-storey home by Daytona is to be built at 3 Pegasus Street in North Winnipeg, MB, in a new and growing family community. Four bedrooms, 3 full bathrooms, surrounded by relaxing walking paths, play areas, and tons of green space, this package includes a $20,000 Dufresne Furniture/Appliances credit, a 2023 Porsche Macan GTS, a 2022 Tesla Model X, $10,000 in travel from CWT Harvey’s Travel, a $4,000 Inn at the Forks/ Riverstone Spa/ Smith Restaurant gift card, $20,000 in gift cards for gas and groceries from Co-op, and $400,000 cash.
  1. Or $1.25 million in TAX-FREE cash!

Buy early to win more! Get your tickets early and be entered in all the biggest draws—including the Fall Bonus Draw (worth $37,000; deadline: midnight, September 29), and the Super Bonus Draw (worth $53,000; deadline: midnight, October 13), plus the Early Bird Draw (worth $200,000; deadline: midnight, November 3)—choose a 2023 MINI Cooper SE and a 2022 Tesla Model X; or a 2023 Porsche Macan GTS plus a gift certificate bundle valued at $54,000 ($20,000 in gift cards for gas and groceries from Co-op, a $20,000 Dufresne appliance credit, a $10,000 CWT Harvey’s Travel voucher, and a $4,000 Inn at the Forks/ Riverstone Spa/Smith Restaurant gift card, or $150,000 cash.

PLUS, there’s the Early Bird Extra—25 winners of $500 Co-op gas and groceries gift card each. The Early Birds are worth $200,000 total.

In total, there are 2,030 prizes to be won.

That’s not all! This year’s lottery features the 50/50 PLUS, which can grow to $2.5 million, with the winner taking half. Ticket buyers can also purchase the Extra Cash PLUS game, with 120 winners and an extra $148,000 in cash up for grabs.

You’ll want to order soon: last year’s lottery sold out early! Get your tickets for this year’s HSC Millionaire Lottery while they are still available.