St. Paul's Lights of Hope campaign has a bigger impact than you might think

Dec 6 2017, 2:12 am

On November 16, the holiday season officially began when the 20th annual Lights of Hope campaign launch saw St. Paul’s Hospital illuminate with Christmas lights and fireworks.

It also marked the start of St. Paul’s Foundation’s largest holiday giving campaign. Every year this happens for a special cause – to help meet the greatest needs of caregivers, patients, residents, and their loved ones.

Although we may not always think about it, there are patients at St. Paul’s who have been there a very long time due to the severity of their illness. One patient who experienced this is George Keulen.

He was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis early in his childhood but his lung function began to decline in his early 20s. George was on a wait list for a double lung transplant for 18 months and the procedure happened on June 18, 2010, after he spent just over 200 days as a patient at St. Paul’s.

George Keulen/St. Paul’s Foundation

An extended hospital stay and his experience inspired George to pursue a Masters of Divinity when he recovered. He’s now back at St Paul’s, not as a patient, but working as a spiritual caregiver.

“My gift of 200 days, gave me the perspective I can bring to my work today helping patients and their families, a perspective I could never have had otherwise. My nurses and care team at St. Paul’s taught me. They taught me that every time I enter a room or pull back a curtain, I am stepping onto sacred ground,” George Keulen told Daily Hive.

“Sometimes this can be taking an extra moment to hear something you have to say, but it can also be your doctor or nurse sharing something about themselves with you. Telling you something about their day, no matter how mundane. These simple moments affirm that you are a person; that even in this giant healthcare system, your personhood is recognized and respected.”

Dr. Christopher E. De Bono, vice president of mission, ethics, spirituality and Indigenous health at Providence Health Care, points out that patients at St. Paul’s benefit not just from medical staff like George describes, but also from the team of spiritual and pastoral caregivers.

“I’m proud of our spiritual and pastoral care. And while they can never actually walk in another person’s shoes, they can deeply connect with the experience of isolation and loneliness that patients can feel,” said Dr. Christopher E. De Bono.Lights of Hope began in 1998 and since then it has more than $30 million for the Emergency Department at St. Paul’s, the Maternity Centre, GI Clinic, and the Centre for Heart Lung Innovation, as well as supporting research.

All donations make it possible to save lives, to provide warm clothing to patients in need, purchase new equipment, and to fund research initiatives that change the way doctors diagnose and treat disease.

Now you can be a part of the annual tradition of Lights of Hope by donating to support life-saving sites and programs across Providence Health Care.

The spectacular Lights of Hope display will be illuminated every day from dusk till dawn until January 8, 2018, so you still have plenty of time to visit.

Bring hope to patients at St. Paul’s by making your gift today at

Lights of Hope 2017

When: Now until January 8
Where: St. Paul’s Hospital Burrard entrance – 1081 Burrard Street, Vancouver
Cost: Free

Daily Hive is a proud media sponsor of Lights of Hope 

DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

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