Let's Keep Our Hearts At Home This Christmas

Published Monday, December 16, 2019

Let's Keep Our Hearts At Home This Christmas

Christmas is a time for families to be together – to laugh, to love and to share in the magic of the season. You can keep more families together when you make a donation to fund cardiovascular surgery here at our Hospital.

Jessica White’s Story

Eight years ago, I was diagnosed with an atrial septal defect; basically a hole in the chamber of my heart which was allowing all my oxygen rich blood to disappear into my other chamber and not get pumped into my body. Apparently it was something I’d had since birth but that had never been picked up before, and had never caused me any grief. However, it was after waking up from gallbladder surgery that I found I couldn’t breathe. Tests revealed the issue and I was booked for open heart surgery in Hamilton to close the hole. My surgery wasn’t urgent so it was about six months before I got the call to go.

In the meantime, I had a terrifying accident; one from which I shouldn’t have walked away alive, but somehow, I did. After that I very much adopted the thinking that when it’s your time, it’s your time, no matter what you’re doing. However, open heart surgery was still a very scary prospect and I was extremely happy to wake up from it.


When I did go for my surgery, my husband Jedd, along with my sons Gunnar and Chipp, remained behind. The boys were only 6 and 4 at the time and a bit in the dark about what was happening. Although Chipp told me recently that it was really hard when I was away because we’d snuggle every night before bed, and I wasn’t there to do that. He said he cried a little every night for the few weeks I was away. Apparently Gunnar also came into our room one morning to ask my husband very seriously if I was coming home since I’d been away for some time. He told my husband ‘tell me the truth’. That was pretty heartbreaking to hear. Luckily my parents lived close to Hamilton so they were able to be with me, and my Mom accompanied me home to Thunder Bay. This experience is one that no one should have to go through alone, and definitely not so far from home. As a mother to two young kids at the time, it would have been so much easier for me and my family to have this surgery here.

I’m hoping you’ll join our family in making a donation to support the Our Hearts At Home Campaign to bring cardiovascular surgery to Northwestern Ontario.


Donations can be made at:

(807) 345-4673
In Person at: Donation Centre inside Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (next to Robin’s Donuts)
By Mail: Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation, 980 Oliver Rd., Thunder Bay, ON  P7B 6V4


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