Marcus Burry’s story
Makayla Burry did not expect to hear her newborn son cry right away, and the sound brought her and her husband to tears. In late January 2021, Marcus came into the world, extremely premature: 24 weeks and four days and weighing just 755 grams. After being delivered by emergency C-section and letting out his first cry, Marcus was quickly put under the care of Royal Columbian Hospital’s Variety Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where he would spend more than four months, surviving a number of complications before heading home.
Marisa Sitter’s story
It started with mild flu-like symptoms, and Marisa Sitter was surprised that her COVID-19 test came back positive. Over the next few days, the Coquitlam resident’s condition progressively grew worse. In addition to a fever, she was getting dizzy, weak, and eventually had difficulty breathing. Feeling like she was drowning, Marisa made her way to Royal Columbian Hospital, where she spent close to a week in the care of a team that has looked after hundreds of COVID-19 patients since the start of the pandemic.
Dave Castle’s Story
Dave Castle had just wrapped up with a client at his barbershop in Delta when a colleague asked him if something was wrong. Feeling wobbly on his feet, everything around the 73-year-old suddenly went blurry. He slipped in and out of consciousness as the ambulance rushed him to Royal Columbian Hospital and its 24/7 acute stroke team.
Stuart Kovensky’s Story
Travel is part of the job in the investment management business, and Stuart Kovensky of New York was at the tail end of a week-long trip across Canada when he landed in BC. It was mere days after the 2010 Winter Games, and Kovensky was at a client’s house in White Rock when the 42-year-old was jolted by a pain like nothing he had ever felt before. He would soon end up at Royal Columbian, facing emergency cardiac surgery to save his life.
Alain Champagne’s Story
On the night of December 18th, 2016, Alain Champagne was getting ready for bed when his wife Marion Bonner heard a loud thump. She bolted up the stairs to check on Alain. She found him slumped against a dresser, having a seizure.
Kulwant Samra’s story
After Kulwant Samra tested positive for COVID-19, the 51-year-old Abbotsford man isolated himself from his family in a room in his home. He was tired and short of breath in the first half of June 2020, as businesses and schools in the province were re-opening following the initial protective measures taken during the start of the pandemic. Kulwant was initially still able to work remotely for his trucking company, dispatching a driver by phone the day he truly became alarmed by how he felt. His last memory was leaving his home by ambulance, before waking up eight weeks later at Royal Columbian Hospital.
Mike Wilkinson’s story
Mike Wilkinson thought the sharp pain was a toothache, but it turned out to be something much more debilitating. For close to two years, the facial pain would come and go, seemingly lasting longer and getting more intense each time. The Surrey resident was eventually diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia – sometimes called ‘the suicide disease’ because of the agony it causes. It became so bad that Mike was on the verge of spending six figures for treatment in the U.S., before he was fortunately referred to a neurosurgeon at Royal Columbian Hospital.
Roger Pinette’s story
Roger Pinette had been feeling unwell for a few days, struggling with a bad cough, headaches, a fever, and fatigue. They are the type of symptoms that have come to be associated with COVID-19, but back in early March 2020 it was not yet front and centre in people’s minds. It would be several weeks before the 72-year-old Langley resident would learn he had contracted a near fatal case of the respiratory illness, only hearing the news after he had awoken from a lengthy stay in Royal Columbian Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.
Jennie & John Hik’s Story
John and Jennie Hik were high school sweethearts. Married for almost 61 years, they shared a deep affection for Royal Columbian Hospital and a decades-long commitment to supporting patient care.
Brittany Lewins from Mackenzie and Madylon Christley from Kelowna were once complete strangers living at opposite ends of the province until their paths crossed at the Royal Columbian Hospital’s Variety Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Both had babies born at 27 weeks gestation, just three days apart. They forged a forever friendship as they supported each other during their NICU journeys.