Stocks Save Hearts

Published Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Stocks Save Hearts

Two years after having quadruple bypass surgery, Jim Symington is feeling well and continues to enjoy active pursuits with his dog Abby. He is pictured here hiking in the mountains of Kluane National Park in the Yukon. Knowing how important it is to have local access to cardiac surgery, Jim recently made a generous donation of stocks valued at $78,000 to the Our Hearts At Home Cardiovascular Campaign to bring a full cardiovascular surgery program to Thunder Bay.

By Heather Vita 

Jim Symington was fit and healthy, but in 2017, he was completely shocked to discover he needed a quadruple bypass.

“It was in the winter that I first noticed some pain in my chest, but it was on my right side, so I didn’t associate it with my heart,” he said. After some initial testing in Arizona, where he was visiting at the time, the results were inconclusive.

Jim then followed up with multiple other diagnostic tests in Thunder Bay, one of which was a stress test. “That was when I was told there was an issue,” he recalled, “and I was booked in for an angiogram. I thought they’d put a stent in and I’d be on my way.”

To Jim and his family’s great surprise, a stent wouldn’t be enough; he would need to travel for quadruple bypass surgery in Toronto.

“My late-wife Shirley and I travelled together so that I could have the surgery,” Jim explained. “Luckily for us, our daughter lives in Toronto, and we were able to stay with her. I can’t imagine having to try to recuperate in a hotel room before coming back to Thunder Bay. As well, it’s awfully hard for the support person, like Shirley was, to operate out of a hotel for over a week. I feel incredibly lucky that we were able to be with family.”

“There’s a lot of trauma involved in having to travel for a procedure like this,” continued Jim. “Unless it’s an emergency situation, you fly on a commercial flight, and flying home when you feel like you’ve been run over by a bus, is no fun at all.”

In part because of his experience, as well as those of others he knows, Jim was inspired to make a donation of a gift of stocks valued at $78,000 to support the Our Hearts At Home Cardiovascular Campaign to bring both vascular and cardiac surgery to Thunder Bay.

“Both Shirley and I always felt that we wanted to give back to our community,” explained Jim. “As a former accountant, I know that a donation of stock eliminates any capital gains tax on the stock as well as reducing my taxable income.”

Jim added, “Reducing my taxes allows me to provide more funds for causes I choose to support. In this instance, I felt that it was essential to support the development of a full cardiac and vascular surgery program here so that others don’t have to repeat the experience I went through. The surgery itself is hard enough without adding the stress of travel to an already-complicated situation.”

Thanks to donors like Jim, together, we’re keeping our hearts at home.

For more information about the Our Hearts At Home Cardiovascular Campaign, please visit or call (807) 345-4673.


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