James, now retired, has always had a passion for hockey and worked as a scout for junior hockey for 45 years. He has fond memories of his career, including his years with the New Westminster Bruins (WHL) who won two Memorial Cups while he was with the team.
Although he spent countless hours in hockey arenas looking for the next hockey star, James met interesting people from all over North America. Yet it was always family that mattered the most.
And, as you'd expect, it was that family--specifically their bumps and bruises--that introduced the Gardner parents to the services of their local hospital.
“Our first experience with Burnaby Hospital was when our daughter Pamela was born,” says James. “I also got to know Dr. Dave Lough, an emergency doctor at the hospital, because he cared for injured players when I was with the Bruins.”
“And then, I really got to know many of the staff when I was first diagnosed with diabetes in 1991, and again in 2007 when I had my knee replaced by Dr. Ralph Belle.”
James received a full knee replacement and is still grateful for the expertise of Dr. Belle and the surgical team. After his surgery, James returned to all usual activities including golf, his favourite.
“On occasion,” James says, “I still need the services of the emergency department when my diabetes isn't well-controlled. I'm always impressed by the level of medical attention and personal care I receive.”
The staff in Burnaby Hospital’s Diabetes Education Centre supported him as he learned to manage his diabetes, however, blood sugar and insulin levels can be a challenge to anyone living with the disease.
Both James and his wife Catherine had cataract surgery from Dr. Boyd, with Catherine needing a specialized surgical procedure done by Dr. Findlay to repair a torn retina. And, their daughter, Pamela, would also become well-acquainted with the hospital when she needed surgery by Dr. Kokan for her broken ankle.
“Many years ago,” reflects Pamela, “I sat on the hospital’s Board of Directors, when every hospital had their own. At the time, I was the youngest person on the Board, and I got to know many of the hospital staff. The staff that work at Burnaby Hospital are compassionate, and they love caring for patients.”
The Gardner family believes in giving back, and, through that, building a strong and healthy community. For these reasons, and to ensure excellent care for future patients, James and Catherine plan to leave a legacy gift in their Will for Burnaby Hospital Foundation.
“We’ve been giving annually to the hospital for more than 20 years,” they say. "Now we want to ensure the hospital is well-equipped to care for our family, our neighbours, and our community for years to come.”