Thousands of people recently took to the streets to watch St. Paul’s Hospital light up with over 200 twinkling stars and an impressive fireworks display to match.
This marked the start of St. Paul’s Foundation’s annual Lights of Hope fundraising campaign, which has been raising money for caregivers, patients, residents, and their loved ones across Providence Health Care for over 20 years.
Search #lightsofhope on Instagram and you’ll see hundreds of photos ranging from selfies to high-res SLR photography of people capturing this Vancouver festive landmark, which informally marks the start of the Christmas period for many people in the city.
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However, it’s easy to forget that each one of those stars represents a donor to the Foundation. Each with their own story as a patient, a resident, or a loved one that has touched the hearts of many.
One such patient whose story is heartfelt in more ways than one is Jordan D Marcia, who was on the wait list for a heart transplant almost from the moment he was born due to a rare, congenital heart condition. When he finally did get his transplant in Toronto, at the tender age of four, it was his 13th surgery of his short life thus far.
“As a kid, I heard that ten years was about the average survival rate for heart transplant recipients. So, I realized early on that life is really short. If you want to do something, you have to go out and do it,” Jordan recalls.
Jordan has had his “new” heart for 22 years and he credits much of his good health to the amazing care of Dr. Andy Ignaszewski and St. Paul’s post-transplant team that includes psychologists, exercise specialists, social workers, dietitians, and a spiritual health practitioner. It’s a recipe for success, as this past August, transplant recipients and health care workers gathered at St. Paul’s to celebrate BC’s 500th heart transplant.
However, Jordan wasn’t able to attend. For the last two years, Jordan has been on a quest to become the first heart transplant recipient to travel to every country in the world and was in Croatia during the reunion — country #14 of the 180-or-so on his bucket list. “St. Paul’s has been so supportive of my dream. When I told Dr. Andy my plan, he said ‘Go for it!’ So that’s what I’m doing.”
As part of his quest, Jordan hopes to raise awareness for organ donation and to find his own donor family.
“I want them to know that I’m still here. I’m doing great. And I’m using their gift to make a difference.”
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You can make a difference too, by giving to St. Paul’s Foundation’s Lights of Hope campaign so transplant recipients like Jordan get the best possible care and live the best possible lives. All donations, whether big or small, have a direct impact on the greatest needs of patients and residents.
This year’s Lights of Hope display will be illuminated every day until January 7, 2019, from dusk till dawn, so you still have plenty of time to visit. Next time you’re walking past the hospital, stop to take a look, a selfie, and don’t forget about those stories behind the stars.
Find out more and make a gift by visiting Lights of Hope online.
Lights of Hope
When: Now until January 7
Where: St. Paul’s Hospital Burrard entrance – 1081 Burrard Street, Vancouver
Daily Hive is a Proud Silver Sponsor of St. Paul’s Hospital’s 2018 Lights of Hope