Click below to read how the Neurology and Rehabilitation teams have redefined what is possible for patients. More stories to come between now and July.

A Letter from Paul: My Stroke Story


I am a theatre producer, a retired teacher, an author and a motivational speaker. Every day, I get up to speak, move and inspire others. I knew I could lose all that when I suffered a serious stroke.

I was shopping in downtown Victoria when suddenly my face felt odd, my arm was numb and my speech began to slur and stumble. I quickly called for help, waited for an ambulance to arrive and tried to calm my anxiety around an uncertain future I wasn’t expecting.

When I arrived at the Victoria General Hospital emergency department, I was immediately seen by Dr. Attwell-Pope and a team of nurses. They acted quickly and within the hour, I had multiple tests; an ECG, MRI, CT scan and blood work. The ECG test showed any abnormalities in my heart that could have caused a blood clot and helped Dr. Attwell-Pope confirm that I had suffered an acute stroke. Immediately, she gave me medication to dissolve blood clots and resolve my stroke symptoms.

Five years later I have no lasting impairment. I am back facilitating groups, producing a show with 400 children on stage, and sharing my story with others.

To this day, I credit my quick and full recovery to Dr. Attwell-Pope and her team. I am incredibly grateful for the care I received during and after the stroke, and for the equipment that was available to confirm and treat my stroke diagnosis.

I am one of thousands of people who suffer a stroke each year on Vancouver Island, and my story could be yours. I encourage you to help our hospitals so that more people can benefit from the latest in stroke care. Having leading-edge equipment really does make a difference.

With gratitude,

Paul Thompson

A Letter from Dr. Attwell-Pope: Help us Redefine What is Possible


The brain controls the most fundamental parts of who we are: how we talk or walk, our likes and dislikes, our entire personality. So when something goes wrong, when a patient suffers a stroke because blood flow to the brain is blocked by a clot, their whole world is affected.

I am one of 12 neurologists in Greater Victoria who, through the referral centre for neurosciences at Victoria General Hospital, serve all 765,000 residents on Vancouver Island, in person or by remote care. When a patient suffers a stroke in one of our island communities, my job is to quickly diagnose its source and severity and provide the best course of action to avoid permanent, irreversible brain damage or fatality.

To do my best work and give my patients the best chance at recovery, I need sophisticated equipment. Better technology allows me and my team to have a more efficient system in place when time is of the essence, especially when brain cells are rapidly lost as a stroke progresses.This spring, I am so grateful to be working with the Victoria Hospitals Foundation to help raise $405,000 for 23 pieces of advanced equipment for our Neurology and Rehabilitation divisions.

One piece of technology that will help me provide a faster diagnosis and give patients the best chance at recovery is the electrocardiogram (ECG) software upgrade. When a patient with signs of stroke is seen in one of the eight emergency departments on the island with ECG capabilities, a physician will quickly test irregular heart rhythms that can lead to the formation of blood clots. This latest software upgrade, which costs $75,000, allows me to quickly view a patient’s ECG result through an electronic charting system, even if the patient is at a remote hospital. With the new technology, I can provide faster diagnosis and quality care to help patients across Vancouver Island recover more fully from one of the most critical and debilitating medical events a person can experience.

I have included the remarkable story of one of my patients, Paul.  When he experienced the signs of stroke, Paul quickly got help. Today, he is alive and well thanks to our medical teams and the advanced equipment we are able to purchase thanks to donors like you.

Thank you,

Dr. Kristen Attwell-Pope
Island Health 


To return to the campaign’s main page, please click here.