September 29, 2021
"Any cause is a good cause if you're helping someone else."
78-year old former patient Gail Lewis underwent triple bypass heart surgery and dedicated 16 years of her life helping others suffering from heart problems.
Gail raised $58,800 and made about 100 phone calls and thank you cards.
She decided to give back to the community by mending a few hearts.
“I thank you from the bottom of my healthy heart because you’ve just made my dream."
Through compassion, persistence and hard work, she raised funds that put 180 people through Central Okanagan Association for Cardiac Health(COACH), a non-profit heart rehabilitation program that many can't afford.
After her heart surgery in Vancouver, during recovery she learned how to walk again. She couldn't afford the COACH program at the time but registered a year later, and that's when she heard about the "Walk of Life". She raised $1,006 in her first time in 2006, which put three people through the program."They put me through because I couldn't afford to do it, and now I’m gonna give it back so someone else can have it done."
Gail's overall goal was to raise $60,000, which she now reached with the help and donation of the Stober Foundation. Gail was surprised to hear that three of her colleagues had recommended her for the award, and received the cheque with tears of joy.
"I’m overwhelmed, you don't think a lot about what you do. You just know what it does to your self, and it made me feel good."Whether it's a heart attack, whether you've had a-fib, transplant, or quadruple bypass, Gail says COACH is the place to go to.
"This is the place to come, they take you in and treat you like family. They teach things that are so important to your recovery. You have to eat properly, you have to take your meds."
The Gratitude Project has been so inspired by Gail's donations over the past 16 years, and to help her reach her goal we donated $5,100 to COACH in her honour.Gail has now surpassed her original total goal.
"Out of everyone that comes here I’m guessing only 1 in 10 can afford it, but one person can't so you know that you've done that for that person."