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A giving heart, a happy heart

St. Boniface Hospital’s excellent cardiac care sparks donor support

In 1988, Judy Balabas’ mother flew from Flin Flon to Winnipeg to receive two heart valve replacements at St. Boniface Hospital. Nearly 25 years later, in May of 2012, Balabas herself also had to have a heart valve replaced at the Hospital.

From pre-operative meetings with doctors explaining her procedure, to post-operative care from the cardiac team at St. Boniface Hospital, Balabas knew she had a tremendous amount of support throughout the entire process.

“The care I received was just phenomenal. Everything was explained to me so well, so I knew what to expect. And the staff who worked with me went above and beyond.”

She fondly recalls staff bringing her a cup of coffee after she was transferred from the Intensive Care Unit to her recovery room after surgery. This special touch, among many others, went beyond the call of duty. Allowing two best friends, Sharon Campbell and Jean Moor, to be present during pre-op and post-op meetings assisted in calming her fears. Having a strong support system in place ensured that she always felt cared for.

With a healed and joyful heart, Balabas decided to leave a gift in her will to St. Boniface Hospital Foundation.

“The cardiac research being done right now at St. Boniface Hospital is so crucial,” says Balabas. “It’s really important to me – I mean, look at the quality of life I have now.” 

This is just one example of Balabas’ generous spirit.

She not only donates to various causes each year, including St. Boniface Hospital Foundation, but she also donates her time playing piano and bringing joy to residents in nursing homes in Winnipeg and Stonewall.

Balabas always knew she wanted to be a music teacher ­– she decided that would be her career when she was just eight years old.

Growing up in Flin Flon, Balabas moved to Winnipeg to attend teacher’s college and went on to teach music and French for 28 years. After retiring, she was tired and looking for a way to de-stress. Music, as always, was her therapy.

When she saw the advertisement for a volunteer piano player position at various personal care homes in the city, she knew she would be a good fit. It’s now been a pastime for Balabas and her friends, Jacky Molyneux and Joan Zaretsky, for nearly a decade.

“It’s just been so rewarding,” Balabas said. “You’re giving your time. But, you know what? You’re so fulfilled by the interactions.”

Balabas’ healed heart is both a happy and giving heart, and St. Boniface Hospital Foundation is grateful for her gift, which will help patients at the Hospital for generations to come.

Leaving a gift in your will to St. Boniface Hospital is the beginning of a healthier future. You can help ensure that health, hope, and healing are always available to those in need. 

Please contact a St. Boniface Hospital Foundation representative to discuss your legacy:

Garth Johnson (204) 235-3570 gjohnson@stbhf.org

Nancy Militano (204) 237-2068 nmilitano@stbhf.org