Jim Lawrence is a Kelowna man with plenty to be proud of.
He is an accomplished runner with several medals he won in numerous races over the years, but there is one accomplishment he will never forget.
Lawrence suffered a heart attack in 2007 just one day before he was set to run a marathon.
He was rushed to Kelowna General Hospital’s emergency room, but the hospital was limited in its ability to help him.
“They couldn’t really do anything for me there,” he said.
Lawrence was in desperate need of a defibrillator, which could only be implanted via surgery. A surgery that still can’t be done at Kelowna General Hospital.
He waited for more than a week before being transferred to Victoria.
The ordeal has brought a campaign launched by the KGH Foundation very close to his heart.
“Right Here at KGH” is a campaign that will equip Kelowna General Hospital with an electrophysiology (EP) lab, which is essential for treating people, like Lawrence, with advanced irregular heart rhythm conditions.
WATCH: (April 19, 2019) Years of growth in cardiac care at Kelowna General
To date, the hospital has received $5.2 million of the $7 million required to complete the project thanks to people like Lawrence who donate to the cause.
“They were not one of my prime charities, but they sure are now,” he said.
“Anything I can do to support them, I’ll do it.”
The remaining $1.8 million would be enough funds to give Kelowna General Hospital its much-needed EP lab, which would help hundreds across the Okanagan.
Doug Rankmore, KGH Foundation CEO, says every campaign so far has helped purchase equipment and expand services that have led to improved care, but this latest one will most certainly reduce heart-related deaths.
“When you have heart problems it’s almost always very dangerous,” he said, “and so this is a program that will really save lives.”
“What’s here is very important to people,” Rankmore added.
“Last year our cardiac program had the best outcomes in the country and so I think that people recognize [it] by supporting the hospital that’s available to people in our community.”
Click here for more information or if you would like to donate to the “Right Here at KGH” campaign.
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