Health Sciences Centre is Manitoba’s flagship hospital with specialized support for trauma, neurosurgery, burn, transplant, and psychiatric health. HSC Foundation supporters like you improve the care and facilities at HSC for patients and their families from Manitoba and beyond
Thanks to remarkable support from the community, our Foundation has a tremendous impact on patient care in our province, and makes a profound difference in the lives of many people.
Your support leads to improved patient care, innovative research, new clinical research facilities, cutting-edge technology, and training opportunities for our medical and scientific teams.
The support we receive from lottery purchasers like you help make life better for the patients and families who visit HSC every day.
Thank you for purchasing a ticket in the 2018 HSC Millionaire Lottery program.
As a construction worker, Luis Soares spends his days digging holes and carrying heavy pieces of pipe. In 2013, he carried something much heavier – the burden of esophageal cancer and the stress and fear that came with it.
“I’m strong now and I have a ton of energy, but back then I felt terrible,” says Soares, an active volunteer at his community centre. “I couldn’t swallow, I had terrible heartburn, and I had developed a bleeding ulcer.”
A series of scans confirmed the cancer. Soares was told that the only solution was surgery to remove his esophagus and raise his stomach.
“It was brutal news. My daughter Ashley was just four-years-old,” recalls Soares. “I asked what would happen without the surgery, and they said I could be gone in six months.”
And so, Soares was admitted for surgery. Confident in his HSC surgical team. Determined to play with Ashley again. Eager to celebrate his upcoming 25th anniversary with his wife, Lucy.
In the hospital, his fears were eased by caring hospital staff, and his days were brightened by the framed bedside picture of his smiling Ashley. The surgery was successful, but the recovery was uncomfortable. He even had to learn how to eat differently.
“It was a small price to pay for great health, freedom from cancer, and a lifetime with Lucy and Ashley,” says Soares. “Today, I feel great.”
Not only does Luis Soares feel great. He feels grateful. He is a frequent spokesperson for the HSC Foundation, happy to share his story and remind people that buying lottery tickets and making donations helps HSC deliver high-quality care.
“Because of community support, our brilliant doctors and nurses have the space and equipment they need to do their jobs,” says Soares. “I am lucky to be alive. I also feel lucky – and blessed – to live in a generous, compassionate community that cares deeply about health care.”
In August 2016, just before his 28th birthday, Michael Strick fell to the floor. He was having an epileptic seizure. And it wouldn’t be his last. His third, and most intense seizure, occurred on his way to Health Sciences Centre. Before that summer, Michael never had a seizure in his life.
At the time, Michael didn’t know what the cause of the seizures might be. But four weeks later, he was diagnosed with brain cancer. He needed surgery immediately.
“It was nerve-wracking — knowing you’re about to have a serious surgery. But when my surgeon came by, he saw that I was nervous. He spent time going over everything with me, and asked if I had any questions,” says Michael. “All my fears and anxiety went away.”
That surgeon, Dr. Demitre Serletis, and his team at HSC, operated on Michael’s tumour in the Centre for Surgical Innovation that was supported by HSC Foundation donors and lottery purchasers. The Centre houses advanced technology found in only seven places across the world.
For part of his surgery, Michael was awake. Dr. Serletis needed to monitor Michael’s speech and motor skills during the surgery to ensure no healthy brain tissue was being removed.
“They woke me up in the middle of my surgery, and started hitting my brain with electrodes,” says Michael. “They got me to count from one to 50. When I started stuttering ‘30, 40, 30, 40,’ they knew they had touched the brain and not the tumour,” says Michael. This was Dr. Serletis’s way of knowing which delicate parts of the brain to avoid when removing as much of the tumour as possible.
“It went better than I hoped it could have gone,” says Michael. “I remember talking to the nurse in the ICU, thinking how incredible it was that I was already sitting here, talking, after just being operated on.” After three days, Michael came home. And he hasn’t had a serious seizure since.
A small part of Michael’s tumour still remains, but it isn’t causing harm beyond a few scattered seizures. His medical team closely monitors the situation. Michael is thankful to be recovering well, and is already back at work and taking in sporting events, such as an upcoming trip to see the New England Patriots play in Foxborough.
“Chemo makes you tired and drowsy, so when it comes to sports, I might be watching more than playing these days,” says Michael. “But I’m still living a very good life over here, thanks to HSC.”
“Dear Stephanie, if not for your diligence we likely would not be holding our newborn daughter, Myah, today,” reads the opening of a heartfelt handwritten letter from Arryn and Seema Seburn. With it came a small plant, a photo of baby Myah, and a visit back to Health Sciences Centre from the Seburns themselves.
“She helped saved my baby’s life,” says Seema Seburn, as Myah soundly sleeps against her chest. “I wanted her to meet the baby she helped save.”
At 32-weeks pregnant, during a routine ultrasound visit, a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer named Stephanie Johnson noticed something was wrong. Fetal blood vessels were running across the internal opening of Seburn’s uterus. If Stephanie hadn’t spotted this often-missed and difficult-to-detect condition, Myah could have broken the vessels during delivery, causing her to heavily hemorrhage. The operating room would only have 10 minutes to save her life.
But instead, knowing this condition was present, doctors delivered Myah safely. Today, she’s a happy baby who will celebrate her first birthday in March. And Seburn is grateful for each member of the HSC’s diagnostic team who helped her during her pregnancy.
“I want people to thank the other equal members of their team: be it the physiotherapist, technician, the health care aide. All allied health professionals. They’re the reason why doctors can do their jobs effectively. The doctors are backed by such great teams.”
Seburn wonders what would have happened to Myah if it weren’t for Stephanie. Would Myah have survived? Would she have had developmental complications?
“I don’t have the words to express how grateful I am to Stephanie and the entire diagnostic team,” says Seburn. “I’ll often catch myself just thinking ‘what if?’ But I’ll always remember that she caught it because she’s simply great at her job.”
Seburn felt like she was in good hands at HSC. As a nurse herself, she says her experience made her proud to be a part of the health care profession.
“We have a healthy baby girl now,” she says. “Everything worked out the way it was supposed to work out. I can’t thank HSC enough.”