Daphne Arnason and Leo Bourassa

Daphne Arnason and Leo Bourassa (pictured above) know what it’s like to have their normal routines turned upside down without warning because of a sudden medical crises.

Over the years, the couple and other family members have benefited from the care provided by Royal University Hospital’s dedicated and talented individuals and teams and the services they provide 365 days a year.

One of their sons was born with a congenital heart condition that laid dormant and did not present symptoms until he was 10. For the next several years, many unplanned trips were made to RUH, usually during the late night and early morning hours so their son could receive emergency treatment to restore his natural heart rhythm. As he got older, the need for surgery became more evident and, fortunately by this time, a procedure was available at RUH eliminating out-of-province travel.

Recently, it was Leo who unexpectedly found himself at RUH in need of emergency care.

Six years ago, at age 61, following a golf game, Leo was experiencing the signs commonly associated with a heart attack. He was directed to RUH where he was promptly stabilized. Following an angiogram x-ray procedure examining blood flow in his heart, Leo underwent successful open heart surgery
days later.

“Leo’s care was life-saving and our son’s was life-altering,” says wife and mother Daphne Arnason. “Even though the circumstances and nature of the heart issues were very different and at different stages in life, we are forever indebted to RUH for the care, comfort and outcomes we experienced at the hospital.”

In recognition of the exceptional care their family has received over the years at RUH, Daphne and Leo recently donated $150,000 to RUH Foundation. Their gift will help advance surgical care innovation and excellence at the hospital, where many of the most critically ill and injured patients from across the province come to receive many of the most complex and specialized surgical procedures available in Saskatchewan.

Daphne and Leo’s decision to donate to RUH was also influenced by another key factor. One of their four sons is a registered nurse who worked in RUH’s operating rooms for many years and still takes the occasional shift there.

“He was particularly excited to hear about our donation knowing the impact it will have on him from a professional perspective,” says Daphne. “We know that the ability of our health-care workers to perform at their best is impacted by their work environment and we know that the Foundation will invest our donation in ways that will benefit both those requiring and delivering care at RUH.”

The couple’s long and generous philanthropic journey has been influenced by the acts of kindness of so many others.

Daphne and Leo were born and raised in rural communities in southern Saskatchewan. Daphne fondly recalls being involved in high school canvassing door to door from farm to farm for Donors Choice and the Canadian Cancer Society.

“I remember how friendly and generous our rural neighbours were and I don’t recall ever being turned away without some monetary donation. It felt rewarding to participate in community-based giving then, as it does now!”

Choosing a nonprofit organization to support is a thoughtful process with reasons for giving unique to each individual and their life
circumstances and priorities, says the couple.

“Everyone in our community likely has or will benefit at some point in their life from the specialized care provided at RUH. We hope our gift will inspire others to give whatever they can knowing it will make a big difference every day in the lives of so many at RUH.”

Thanks to Daphne and Leo, combined with your ongoing generosity, we are helping ensure the most complex care is available at RUH to patients from throughout Saskatchewan now and for years to come.

Read more inspiring stories in our Fall Milestones or make your donation now.