Paul Thompson was downtown doing a little shopping when he had a stroke.
He realized something was seriously wrong when he found he was having trouble speaking, but he recounted how he completed his purchase and went out to the street.
It was only then, Thompson called a friend who told him to immediately call an ambulance, but for reasons he still doesn’t understand, he got onto a bus instead.
After that things become a little hazy for Thompson who said he must have gotten off the bus and called an ambulance at some point. When the ambulance arrived, they found him wandering around the grassy part of the street in front of what used to be Canadian Tire on Douglas Street.
The rest of that day is now a jumble of half-formed memories and impressions.
“I was having some cognitive problems, for sure, but I was very lucky to have Dr. Kristen Attwell-Pope on duty that day when I arrived at Vic General. She treated me and I credit her expertise for my surviving the event as well as I did,” said Thompson.
It’s been five years since that day, and Thompson is now one of the spokespeople for the Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s spring fundraising campaign to raise $405,000 for equipment to help others with a variety of neurological conditions, including those who have suffered a stroke.
“Victoria General Hospital is the neuroscience referral centre for all of Vancouver Island. We rely on state-of-the-art equipment to diagnose and treat patients with a wide variety of conditions. Having those tools at our disposal makes all the difference in patient outcomes,” said Attwell-Pope, division head of neurology for Island Health.
The campaign will result in the purchase of 23 pieces of equipment that will help not only stroke patients but those suffering from epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s.
“Every year the Neurology and Rehabilitation divisions at Royal Jubilee and Victoria General hospitals diagnose and treat thousands of patients affected with these life-changing conditions,” said foundation board director Steve McKerrell. “They need sophisticated care to ensure they can reach their highest level of recovery and function.”
For Thompson, the care he received restored his life.
Thompson is grateful to Dr. Attwell-Pope, and to staff at the hospital, for the treatment he received that day and in the days that followed. He continues to work as a motivational speaker and author.
“None of that would be happening without the help I got,” said Thompson, adding he encourages everyone to support this campaign and give generously to this cause. “After all, you never know when it could be you who suddenly finds themselves in need of help.”
Contributions to the spring campaign can be made online at victoriahf.ca/redefiningpossible, calling 250-519-1750 or mailing to Wilson Block, 1952 Bay St., Victoria, B.C. V8R 1J8.