A True Champion of Care

The Champions of Care program at the University Hospital Foundation gives patients and families an opportunity to make a donation to recognize an individual, a specific unit or an entire program at the hospital that stood out, made an impression and had a meaningful impact on their lives. It is a personal way to say thank you and honour their Champion of Care, and at the same time, continue to support the excellent work that saves and changes lives every day at the University of Alberta Hospital, the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute and the Kaye Edmonton Clinic.

Chris Simmons is just one of the Champions of Care donors at the University Hospital Foundation. He made his donation after five different medical units were involved in saving his life in the fall of 2019. He will forever be grateful for their care and support.

Chris’s story with the University of Alberta Hospital started with a routine checkup with his family physician. He was feeling a little off, with a cough and constipation, but he thought both would go away soon. When they didn’t, he followed up with his doctor, and on September 1, during another visit, his doctor became concerned when he noticed Chris’ feet were very swollen. He told him to go to the University of Alberta Hospital to get checked out.

Chris listened and went right away. At the U of A Hospital, doctors found a 14 cm long mass in Chris’ abdomen which was impinging on his colon. Fluid was building up in his body, pushing against his lungs causing his cough. He had a kidney infection, and a bacterial infection in his blood. He had had no idea how sick he was.

His care teams got to work right away. Chris underwent more than 60 blood tests, he had 1.5 L of fluid drained, an MRI, a CT scan and a colonoscopy. Chris is also diabetic and needed insulin and glucose to keep his condition under control. He was in a delirious state the first few days he was admitted to the hospital. He credits his care team for making him feel at peace. “I don’t know if I’d have made it through without them,” Chris says. “They think first about what they can do to make people’s lives easier and better. I’m so happy there are people like them in Edmonton doing this work.”

Chris stayed in the hospital for two weeks. When he was released he continued on antibiotics for another month. Eventually the mass and his infections cleared up.

Showing Gratitude

He recognizes that there is a level of care that’s hard to find anywhere else at the University of Alberta Hospital, and feels lucky it was there for him when he needed it most.

“I’m very thankful, I wouldn’t be alive today without the care I received.”

Since his treatment at the hospital, Chris made a donation to the Champions of Care[JB2]  program to support the care teams that supported him, and help other patients at the hospital.

“I wanted to make sure that the wards and caregivers were recognized. They deserve the recognition.”

He is passionate about giving back any way he can, and will continue to sing the praises of the dozens of team members at the U of A Hospital who have impacted his life so greatly.

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