On February 26. 2018 my Mother Elizabeth, from Nanaimo, B.C, received a heart transplant at St.Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver after just over a week on the list. She had been struggling with a rare disease called sarcoidosis of the heart for seven years, leaving her unable to properly breathe, eat, walk, or do any normal activities that most would take for granted.
The call for her new heart was a blessing. I was on practicum as she told me, and I rushed home to get my dad, Gary, as we headed to the ferry to see her before she would go into surgery. We arrived at the hospital within 5 minutes of her going into the OR, and were able to give her hugs and kisses before she went into the biggest surgery of her life. It feels very surreal still!
There was a complication which has been fixed, however she had to return back to the OR hours after her transplant. Right now, she is doing well. I will do my best to update with pictures as we continue this new journey :)
We are in significant need of financial support, as we’ve had to relocate to a heart house in Vancouver for 3 months, and must upkeep our house on the Island. We are unable to work to provide for ourselves for 3 months, and will be struggling.
Our Social worker, Shelly Prytula, writes in support of Elizabeth’s journey:
”All adult heart transplants in British Columbia are performed at St.Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. In addition to income distribution for the patient and caregivers, there are significant inancial costs associated with transplantation that can contribute to financial burden and incredible stress for patients and their families.
while some costs are incurred by all transplant patients, financial burdens are compounded for patients from communities outside the lower mainland. These individuals and families must leave the safety and security of their home and community to relocate to Vancouver with their caregiver for a minimum of 3 months or longer. During this time the patient undergoes surgery and completes their initial recovery and rehabilitation period. For individuals travelling from out of town the additional expenses are as follows :
* Travel and accommodation costs for frequent outpatient appointments (gas,ferry,bus, or airline costs)
*Parking costs in downtown Vancouver (average $20+ a day)
*Meal costs away from home
*Cost of maintaining primary residence in home community
The financial stressors associated with transplant can have a profound effect on the health and wellbeing of the heart transplant recipient as well as their loved ones. There are very limited financial resources available to assist with the above costs. Typically, the costs are the responsibility of the patient, their family, and their support network. It is wish this in mind that we encourage and support patients and families to seek financial support where available to assist them in their transplant journey. We are hopeful that this information had been informative and helpful as you consider ways in which you can assist.
Shelly Prytula, MSW/RSW
Social Worker, Heart Transplant And Heart Failure
1081 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6
Phone: [phone redacted] “
Thank you for reading. Please share, and pray for my Mum’s recovery ❤️
Love and thanks,
Jessica Grace Holcomb (Daughter) and Gary Holcomb (Husband)
- sheldon smith
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- Denise and Dan
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