From Staff Member to Stroke Patient 

I never, ever thought I’d be writing this letter. I’ve worked at Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) for over five years – but not on the medical side. I’m not a doctor or a nurse or a technician. I’m a fundraiser.

Until a year ago, when I suddenly became a patient.

To say it was unexpected is an understatement! I’m young and very physically fit. I eat healthy and am an avid cycler and very active. In fact, my husband David and I had just returned from a seven-day cycling trip in Utah when I felt dizzy – and then collapsed into his arms. I couldn’t feel my right side and my speech was slurred; all classic signs of  a stroke. 

Words can’t describe how confused and terrified I felt. And yet I’m so grateful that everything happened so smoothly, from the moment David called 911, to my arrival at the health centre, to the exceptional care I received from start to finish. The doctors and nurses kept telling me, “We’re going to take care of you.” And they did.

As someone who works for RVH, someone who knows what goes on behind the scenes, I can say this with certainty: exceptional health care doesn’t just happen. It’s not a coincidence or a lucky break.

Exceptional, life-saving healthcare happens because of the hard work and vision of many, many people. RVH board members, administrators, medical professionals, support staff, and the community as a whole.  It’s thanks to this team approach that RVH is home to an Enhanced District Stroke Centre. As an Enhanced District Stroke Centre, RVH is one of only two hospitals in North Simcoe Muskoka that can provide the clot-busting drug tPA for acute ischemic stroke. It’s thanks to extraordinary dedication that RVH recently received Stroke Distinction, the Award of Excellence from Accreditation Canada.

And it all starts with our community. 

The generosity of our community is what makes all of this possible; and it’s thanks to our community that I’m spending this coming Christmas with my husband and son.

When I arrived at RVH, I was rushed to a CT scanner to see if there was any bleeding in my brain. Without this scanner, they wouldn’t have been able to give me the clot-busting drug tPA, which saved me from having a greatly reduced quality of life.

And you know what? Donations from our community paid for that CT scanner, just 7 months before I needed it. It gives me chills just to think about it. In fact, most of our equipment is 100 per cent funded by the community.

In the seven days I was in the health centre, I used the emergency department, imaging, pharmacy, lab services, the Intensive Care Unit, the stroke unit, and rehabilitation. Community healthcare involves so many specialized teams. And when they are all well-supported, they work together seamlessly to save and improve lives.

Here at RVH we have several urgent needs I hope you’ll support today – including our lab that does testing and diagnostics to treat cancer and other conditions; our advanced cardiac care centre and state-of-the-art radiology equipment. Just like the new donor-funded CT scanner, these programs and pieces of equipment could save someone close to you.

As community members, it’s our job to make sure our regional health centre is supported – to make sure it has the right technology, the right training, the right medication, and the right systems in place. 

Because when it’s your life on the line, or the life of someone you love, you want to be sure that you’re in the best possible hands – with the best possible equipment.

As the holidays draw near and you reflect on what is most important to you, I hope you’ll take this opportunity to consider how you can help with a year-end gift. 

I’ll forever be grateful for the exceptional care I received at RVH, thanks to the kindness of people like you. Now, I’m back at work, doing what I love and enjoying every minute of life with my family. 

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season with those you love,

Rebbeca Truax

Patient, Donor and Director of Philanthropy

Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre


(Above) Rebbeca with Dr. Michael Lee, General Internal Medicine specialist and Co-Medical Director, Medicine Program, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre.

(Below) Thanks to Team RVH and the generous support of our community - Rebbeca is now back to doing what she loves, with the people that she loves.