Your Stories

Your Stories

When Katie Johns brought her 3-year old daughter, Charley to GBGH in August, she was in critical respiratory distress. 

“When we arrived at the ED, we were immediately taken into the first room behind the triage desks. It was all quite a blur for me as a Mom in crisis,” says Katie. “However, I have to say how amazing the care was that we received during our time there. The incredible group of nurses, and Dr. Gaffney, made an incredibly scary time a little more bearable both for my daughter and myself. I instantly felt like the weight of her care during this critical time had been lifted off of my shoulders by this incredible group of caregivers.

The team at GBGH stabilized Charley, so that she could safely be transferred to a pediatric care unit at OSMH, and then eventually also to SickKids. But, it was the calm, compassionate care of the team at GBGH that provided great medical interventions and emotional support that truly stood out for Katie.

I am so thankful for the team at GBGH,” shares Katie. “Dr. Gaffney mentioned that he has kids too, and from one parent to another, thank you for recognizing my panic and helplessness, and meeting it with swift action, excellent care and reassurance that my daughter was going to be ok.”


“Everyone at GBGH was absolutely amazing and so comforting. They saved my life and got me to the regional cardiac centre for the specialized care I needed.”

~ Frank Vatalaro

I didn’t think I was having a heart attack.

I didn’t have any of the classic symptoms. The shortness of breath. The sweating. Tingling. Numbness or swelling. I just thought I had indigestion. 

Until I went to bed and woke up an hour later, with this horrible tightness in my chest. 

It felt like someone had put a noose around my chest and back and was tightening it. Or like someone was squeezing me in a bear hug and wouldn’t let go. It was really painful and it was getting worse. 

My wife Jennifer rushed me to GBGH right away, and within minutes, Dr. Marty McNamara and the team worked together to stabilize me, run blood tests and administer medication.

I was so scared when Dr. McNamara told me I was having a massive heart attack and that I had gotten there just in the nick of time. 

It was the height of COVID and they weren’t letting anyone in. But they did a great job of making me comfortable, stabilizing me and calling my wife to keep her informed of what was going on.

Everyone at GBGH was absolutely amazing and so comforting. They saved my life in the moment and got me to the regional cardiac centre for the specialized care I needed. 

That’s why I’m so grateful for our small-town hospital. Our community is very lucky to have it.

In a critical situation like mine, every second counts. Our hospital is the first point of access for urgent care and it is a precious resource that we need to preserve and support. 

That’s why my wife Jennifer and I decided to give back through the Business Cares program. We ran a special promotion for GBGH at the café we own in Midland, called Rooted Café, where we donated a portion of sales to the Foundation. 

Our community’s support makes the life-saving care that I received possible, and for that I am profoundly grateful. 

~ Frank Vatalaro