Donor Impact

Patient & Resident Stories

Meet Ailsa…

A stroke can happen to anyone, at any age.

On April 15, 2021, Ailsa Desender, a first-grade teacher, was looking forward to the upcoming lunch break as she had a headache starting and, at 24 weeks pregnant, she felt like a rest over the break would help her to feel better.

Once in the break room, it became obvious that something bigger was happening to Ailsa – and her coworker immediately called 911. At only 31, Ailsa was having a stroke.

Fear began to set in, and Ailsa’s first thought was for the safety of her unborn baby.

Ailsa spent a week at HSC Winnipeg while doctors assessed the impacts of her stroke and monitored her baby to understand how the stroke may have impacted her child inside the womb.

The stroke’s impact on Ailsa’s body was significant, targeting her balance, coordination, and dominant side, and she began to wonder how she was going to care for a newborn once her daughter arrived.

After a week in hospital, Ailsa was transferred to Riverview Health Centre (RHC) to begin her rehabilitation. RHC is home to the only inpatient stroke rehabilitation program in the province. Using a multidisciplinary team approach to rehabilitation staff support all aspects of an individual’s recovery.


Meet Bruce…

Bruce is a talented artist who finds inspiration in nature, which is evident when you visit his unit at Riverview Health Centre. Even before entering his room, you take notice of the eye-catching lakeside painting he created that is hanging in the hallway, and his room showcases even more of his talent with beautiful drawings of birds, raccoons, and a wolf, all framed and hung with pride.

This is a pastime that Bruce has enjoyed for much of his life.

Bruce came to live at Riverview Health Centre almost five years ago now after a particularly challenging time health-wise. He requires the use of a ventilator around the clock and, for years, he was able to manage his health while living at home with his parents. That changed five years ago. His health took a turn, and while his medical team tried to determine the cause, Bruce spent five long months in hospital.

Eventually, doctors determined Bruce needed a specialized tracheostomy tube that would help him breathe better and more consistently. This also meant that he would need more specialized care and support than he was getting at home.

Since then, he has made his home at Riverview Health Centre, the province’s only residential facility specializing in the 24/7 care of adults requiring long term ventilator support. The expert, collaborative team focuses on providing Bruce and 26 other residents exceptional care and comfort.

“I am confident that I am receiving the very best care here. The staff have worked to get to know me, which helps them to understand my goals,” says Bruce.


New Ceiling Lifts Help to Improve Quality of Life for Long-Term Care Residents at Riverview, Thanks to Donor Support

Six resident rooms received a valuable upgrade last week in the Personal Care Home unit at Riverview. A ceiling lift is a stationary lifting device mounted on a rail system that hydraulically lifts and transfers patients in a sling-seat between a bed and a chair or wheelchair.

They are a very valuable tool to support residents of RHC in their daily lives, ensuring that they have the full opportunity to get out of their beds to a position of mobility so they may participate in activities as fully as possible in all opportunities presented.

These pieces of equipment are important for preventing injuries during lifts and moves to staff and residents alike.

These ceiling lifts were made possible by the generosity of donors. Thank you!

Meet Michael…

Michael moved into Riverview Health Centre in March 2022, unsure of what to expect as he had been fairly active for most of his life. As Michael nears his one-year anniversary, he looks forward to the daily activities and programming offered by the Therapeutic Recreation Facilitators at Riverview Health Centre.

His favourite activity by far is Bingo, as he used to play it quite often before moving to Riverview, and he wins a lot! His second favourite activity to participate in is floor curling. Michael thinks the Recreational Therapy Program at Riverview is really great and very important to residents and patients. “I look forward to taking part in as much as I possibly can!”

Therapeutic Recreation is the specialized application of recreation and experiential activities that assist in maintaining or improving health status, functional capabilities, and ultimately the quality of life of persons with unique needs. It is a purposeful activity directed at the individual and their environment which aims to enhance health and to impact functioning in everyday life. Therapeutic recreation may include drama, music, arts and crafts, sports, gardening, photography, dance and movement, and games to support the goal of assisting the individual to maximize enjoyment of leisure time, optimal health and the highest possible quality of life.


Meet Kaitlyn…

Friday, December 13, 2019 started out like any other for, then 17-year-old, Kaitlyn Childs. She was mid-way through first semester of Grade 12, excelling in her mostly science-based classes, while being busy with her extracurricular activities including music, dance, and playing with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Drumline. Kaitlyn was excited to be planning what her life after high school would look like.

While travelling on the perimeter highway on this fateful day, Kaitlyn and her friend were hit on the passenger side of their car by an out-of-control vehicle. Kaitlyn, the passenger in the vehicle, took the brunt of the impact. She had suffered a significant brain injury due to a fractured skull, and other injuries including three breaks in her pelvis, and a ruptured bladder. Time stopped for Kaitlyn and her family.


Meet Jules…

August 31, 2014 was a life-changing day for Jules. What started out as a quick ATV ride with his friends ended with him waking up in a hospital five months later.

At just 32 years old, Jules had lost control of his quad outside of Kelowna and fell 75 feet down a cliff. He was wearing a helmet but had not secured the chin strap – a decision he regrets to this day. He sustained a brain injury, a broken jaw, and awoke from a coma with no memory of the last six months of his life.

Once he was well enough to begin his rehabilitation, he was transferred to Riverview Health Centre to be closer to family supports in Winnipeg.


Skip to content