Years of leading a devil-may-care, indulgent lifestyle had left me in a state of ill health and hopeless demoralization. How did I go from being put up in a posh hotel by an out-of-town employer for a year, to being virtually homeless, unemployable and alone? Excessive alcohol consumption certainly didn't help. On the evening of March 17th, 1994 I was feeling physically worse than ever. Light headed, nauseous. I was staying in a cheap hotel, and it felt as if the walls were closing in on me. It was unbearably hot and stuffy. I got up to turn the heat down, and came to on the floor, in a puddle of my own blood. I was bleeding out from two perforated stomach ulcers. I passed out again, came to once more and crawled to the bathroom, lost more blood and finally realized the seriousness of the event. I made it to a house phone, and called to the front desk for help.
I was rushed to Vancouver General Hospital, where I received whole blood and plasma. I had an incredible team of health care providers, and I'm still grateful to them for bringing me back to life. I stayed at VGH for 8 or 9 days, during which my G.I. doctor suggested I might want to consider a change in my lifestyle. For once, I took this advice to heart, and to this day I haven't had another drink of alcohol. As the months passed, I knew I wanted to give blood. I was still terrified of needles, but the need for ongoing blood work had lessened that fear somewhat. One day, I made the big step and became a blood donor at the Oak Street Clinic and I've donated nearly 40 times since. Once a week, I also volunteer at VGH and talk to people hospitalized due to their alcohol use. It feels so good to give back, as good as it felt coming back to life that evening of March 17th. Today, I'm happy, healthy, content, work out 6 days a week and can't imagine a life so wonderful and full. Thank-you for that life, Canadian Blood Services and the donors who gave so selflessly so that I could live.