Champion For Health - Rick Kubik
Rick Kubik - Monthly Donor to Neurosciences at FMC
Champions for Health are a
special group of people who connect their passion and desire to
give with our community's health care needs. Today we are sharing
one of our monthly donor's stories and how his gift impacts the
lives of others in our community.
A marriage should be a time of joy and happiness, but before
Rick and Susan celebrated their first anniversary Rick woke up in
"I didn't remember what had happened or why I was there," said
Rick. According to his wife he had a massive seizure. After
being rushed to Foothills Medical Centre staff ran some tests to
find out the reason for the seizure. They discovered Rick most
likely had brain cancer.
An exploratory surgery was scheduled for April 6, 2008 but
before it could happen Rick found out he had deep vein thrombosis,
a potentially life threatening blood clot in his leg. He underwent
treatment at Rockyview General Hospital but surgery for his brain
cancer had to be postponed because of the blood thinners used to
treat the clot.
Rick experienced three more seizure before he was able to have
brain surgery on Feb 17, 2009. It was a complex surgery due
to the location of the tumour and they had to remove a whole
section of Rick's brain. It turned out the tumour was actually an
oligoastrocytomas, an even worse type of cancer than originally
During the surgery they inserted a metal plate in his head and
he had 40 staples in his head.
"I looked like Frankenstein," he said.
The surgery was successful in removing the tumour but Rick is
not the same person as he was before since they removed part of his
frontal lobe. Over the first five months Rick worked on
rehabilitation. He joined a clinical trial were he was giving
medication injections to help prevent the cancer from returning
Although Rick was on the road to recovery, Rick and Susan's
health troubles were not finished.
Towards the end of 2009, Susan was experiencing severe fatigue.
After a medical check-up she received a devastating diagnosis -
stage four lung cancer.
Rick switched gear from being a recovering cancer survivor to a
caregiver for his wife.
Susan underwent radiation and the treatment was very hard on
her. By summer 2012, she couldn't work and needed assistance from
home care. Sadly, by December, Susan's doctors determined she would
need hospice care.
It took a while for Rick to convince Susan that a hospice was
the right place for her. Though she was happy and optimistic for a
while after moving to Sarcee Hopsice, she started to decline in the
first week of January. There staff were so gentle and caring with
Susan as they recognized she was entering her final days and often
sat with her and held her hand.
"I was able to stay with her for those final few nights before
she passed away peacefully," said Rick, "I am grateful for the care
and for the amazing staff at Sarcee Hopsice that cared for Susan in
her final weeks."
Throughout this whole experience Rick was very impressed with
the health care they received. "The staff at Foothills were
friendly and gave us really good care," he said and he speaks
highly of the excellent emotional and social support from the
Tapestry program, a retreat and renewal centre outside of Calgary
that is open to all adults living with cancer, and from staff that
they received as part of their care.
While Rick was a patient at Foothills he picked up a Calgary
Health Trust brochure about giving back to help the hospital.
He signed up to be a monthly donor to the Neuroscience program at
Foothills and is still donating every month. This past spring Rick
called to double his monthly donation to Calgary Health
Because of monthly donations like Rick's the Neuroscience
department has been able to:
- Support nursing and team
education conferences to help share knowledge.
- Purchase upgraded exam
tables in Neuro Rehab Unit - the tables now move up and down which
increases patient comfort and staff safety.
- Replace chairs in the
outpatient clinic waiting areas like the MS Clinic and Ambulatory
Clinic to increase comfort for patients waiting for
For more information on becoming a monthly donor please
email Nicole Kitson, Annual Giving Officer or