Brian’s Story

When your life has been changed in the way mine has, you never pass up the chance to say thank you to those who made it possible.

As a St-Boniface Hospital donor, you are one of those people. That’s why when I was invited to share my story, I couldn’t wait to tell you how you’ve been a part of changing my life for the better.

When I was just a teenager, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s: a chronic, inflammatory bowel disease for which there is no cure. It began as frequent pain in my stomach, but quickly became much harder to deal with.

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Me in my hospital bed at St-B during my last surgery

One night I woke up feeling sick, and needing to go to the bathroom. The next thing I knew, there was blood everywhere. Nothing like this had ever happened before so I woke up my mom who said we need to get to a hospital.

I remember speeding down the streets in an ambulance to the nearest hospital for urgent care. But there was a problem …

Halfway there, a call came in on the ambulance radio and I heard the paramedics say the hospital had no beds available. But there was room for me at St-Boniface.

I was in pain, and worried about the longer drive ahead. I didn’t know this change in plans would turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

When we arrived at St-Boniface Hospital, we were met by Dr. Don Duerksen, a gastroenterologist, who examined me and reassured us everything was going to be ok. The bleeding had been caused by my inflamed bowel due to my Crohn’s. But with the right treatment plan, we could manage my symptoms and control the disease.

After a night of worry, these were words my mom and I were so relieved to hear. We knew I was at the right hospital, receiving the right care.

That first visit to St-Boniface was more than twenty years ago. Since then, I’ve had ten Crohn’s-related surgeries, parts of my bowel removed, spent over 500 days in hospital, and occupied a bed on almost every floor. Dr. Duerksen and his team have been with me every step of the way.

Each time I’m admitted, I’m shown nothing but compassion. I can feel it every time I walk in, which is why I come to St-Boniface Hospital, even though I live quite far away.

The staff at St-Boniface Hospital don’t just treat me, they give me life by continuously finding ways to help me manage my disease so I can live a life that is as normal as possible …especially when I need it most.

I’ll never forget the day I was admitted to the hospital just twelve days before my wedding. My body had been struggling to absorb nutrients properly, and as a result I’d been rapidly losing weight. When I arrived, I weighed a mere 112 pounds – dangerously low for a man like me.

It was a terrible blow to me and my family who knew I may not be discharged in time to marry my wife, Kristy, in Kenora. The stress of it all made it difficult to focus on getting better.

Knowing this, the nurses told me it could be possible to take my treatment to the wedding. While in hospital, I was receiving nutrition through my veins instead of my digestive system to get me healthier faster.


Me and my wife on our wedding day

The nurses taught me how to prepare and insert my IV, and how to take my medication, which was held in plastic medical bags. After a few tries, I felt confident enough that I could do it on my own, and was given permission to leave.

Soon after, I was on the road to Kenora with a cooler full of medication and supplies that the nurses had packed up for my wedding weekend. I felt an incredible sense of freedom, relief, and gratitude.

Because of this crucial treatment, the dedicated staff at St-Boniface Hospital, and donors like you who support them, I was able to escape from my illness to have that special moment with my wife and family.

It is this compassion that continues to draw me to St-Boniface Hospital. I am so pleased to have this opportunity to thank you for ensuring patients like me receive the best care, and have the best staff to deliver it, every time.


Please consider making a gift to St-Boniface Hospital Foundation so the many other patients suffering from chronic disease can receive the same critical care and support that I do.









Brian Pelda

P.S. Crohn’s is just one of many incurable diseases people are being treated for each day at St-Boniface Hospital. Like me, they count on your support to live healthier lives.


More patient stories

Dean’s Story 

Brian’s Story

Max’s Story