Giving with Heart

It was April 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic was rapidly advancing through our community. Like many others, Etobicoke resident Rick Davis was experiencing the effects of the virus firsthand.  

Earlier that month he had the heartbreaking experience of laying off half the staff at his events company, Rick Davis Promotions – the first time he’d ever had to do that in over 33 years of business. 

Then on April 30th, he tragically lost his mother to COVID-19. It was an exceptionally stressful period for Rick and his family, and his own health fell to the wayside as he tried to balance personal and professional obligations.   

It was right around this time Rick began feeling unwell. He chalked it up to stress at first, but as the hours ticked by he couldn’t shake the feeling that something was seriously wrong.  

Rick knew he had a tiny spot on his aorta (the body’s largest artery that exits directly from the heart) for which he intermittently took medication to help ward off further heart complications. But, little did he know, he was experiencing an aortic dissection – a life-threatening condition when the walls of the aorta tear. The odds of survival with medical intervention are about 50 per cent.  

Rick drove himself to Mississauga Hospital where Dr. Joseph Noora, head of Cardiac Surgery, was on call. He was taken into surgery at 6 a.m. There was added anxiety with COVID-19 being so relatively new. Rick’s surgery ended up being the first cardiac procedure performed during the COVID-19 crisis and Dr. Noora’s first surgery in full PPE.  

After eight grueling hours on the operating table, Rick’s heart started again.  

“I guess Dr. Noora read the IKEA directions accurately,” Rick quips. “I have completely new piping – even Enbridge is jealous of me. I’m good for 200 km or the next 60 years, whatever comes first.”  

Following the surgery, Rick underwent virtual rehabilitation through the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at the Queensway Health Centre. Today Rick feels better than ever, his life now ruled by the step counter on his iPhone.   

Philanthropy has always been important to Rick and over the years he has supported a number of different causes. His experience with THP inspired him to continue giving back, this time to the hospital that saved his life. He recently made a $25,000 pledge with a commitment to give the first $6,000 this year. He’s just celebrated his 60th birthday, almost exactly one year after his heart surgery, so that represents $100 for each year of his life. He also plans to leave a legacy at THP through a gift in his Will.  

In addition, Rick and his family are planning to become more involved with THP’s Cardiac Rehab Walk. With over three decades of producing events, Rick feels that lending his experience is the least he can do for the hospital that gave him his life back.  

“When I went to Trillium, I knew they had all the expertise I would need,” Rick says. “I had, and continue to have, the best of the best, taking care of me. I’m so thankful.”  

Inspired by Rick’s story? Consider giving today by visiting trilliumgiving.ca   

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