A Lasting Impact: Ken’s Story

When Ken Carrusca collapsed on the ice in Burnaby in early 2018, it quickly became a matter of life or death. His life-threatening condition was diagnosed with the help of equipment purchased with the assistance of legacy donors, who continue to have a big impact on patient care today through gifts in their Will.

Past donors who chose to remember Royal Columbian Hospital with a gift in their Will are having a big impact on patient care today.

Legacy gifts, large or small, are incredibly valuable to Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation. We rely on them to support our work and the equipment and technology that make life-saving care at Royal Columbian Hospital possible. They are vital to ensuring the Foundation can continue to meet the future needs of our hospital and its patients. Patients like Ken Carrusca.

Ken Carrusca collapsed on the ice in Burnaby in early 2018. For the 50-year old Burnaby resident, it very quickly became a matter of life or death.

Tom Levesque, Ken Carrusca, Jay Howell, and Wes Reamsbottom – teammates on “Can’t Skate Backwards” at Burnaby 8-Rinks. Photo by Cornelia Naylor, Burnaby Now

As he lay on the ice, unresponsive, Ken was fortunate that others came to his aid immediately. He had just suffered a cardiac arrest, one of an estimated 40,000 to occur outside of a hospital setting in Canada each year.

“Several people on the ice started CPR and used one of the AEDs (automated external defibrillator) to re-start my heart,” says Ken.

That quick response helped keep Ken alive as he was transported to Royal Columbian Hospital. There, an angiogram detected blockages in his arteries and led to a quadruple bypass surgery.

Less than three weeks after Ken arrived in hospital, two other hockey players ended up at Royal Columbian and also survived cardiac arrests.

49-year-old Rob MacDonald arrested at the end of a game in Pitt Meadows three days after Ken had collapsed. Two weeks later, 43-year-old Jamie Maclaren’s heart stopped following a game in Burnaby.

Royal Columbian has among the best survival rates in Canada following angioplasty, which involves the use of catheters, balloons and stents to open blocked heart arteries during a minimally-invasive procedure. The hospital’s remarkable results stand out while also having the highest percentage of high-risk cases in the country.

Ten months after his cardiac arrest, Ken stepped back onto the ice to play again with his recreational hockey team.

None of our legacy gift donors knew Ken. But they knew their gift would support the advanced equipment and technology our hospital needs to save the lives of patients like him. Those donors are gone, but their compassion and care for the health of our community lives on.

Interested in making a big impact but unsure if a gift in your Will is right for you?

To find out how you can leave a gift in your Will with security and peace of mind, join us for our special Strategic Philanthropy Ask Me Anything virtual session on March 10th. Experts Rose Shawlee and Rich Widdifield will be on hand to answer your specific legal, financial, and philanthropic questions.