Your Impact - Luis Soares’s Story
Luis Soares, his wife Lucy, and their
daughter Ashley enjoy a summer day.
"It’s good to be alive,” says Luis.

I was going to write yesterday, but it was a long day and, honestly, I was pretty tired when I got home. Sixteen hours of digging holes and laying pipe will do that to a guy. Some of those pieces of pipe weigh over 100 pounds.

But even with the long work days in the fall, I love my construction job. And I’m lucky to have it. In fact, I’m lucky to be alive.

I’m strong now and I have a ton of energy, but just over three years ago, I was feeling terrible. I couldn’t swallow. I had terrible heartburn. And I had developed a bleeding ulcer. They discovered I had a condition called Barrett’s esophagus. It’s a pretty significant risk factor for developing esophageal cancer.

The problem was that my condition was discovered pretty late in the game. By the time they were treating me for Barrett’s, I already had cancer. The Barrett’s treatment included the scraping of my esophagus every few months and frequent monitoring. It was clear, though, that I wasn’t healing. So, I was sent for a PET scan and a CT scan and my cancer was confirmed.

A complicated surgery, a wonderful result:
Luis Soares’s esophagus was removed to save his life.

It was brutal news. My daughter Ashley was just four-years-old. The doctors at HSC told me that the only option was surgery to remove my esophagus. I asked what would happen without the surgery, and they said I could be gone in six months.

So, surgery it was. There was no other option. I was determined to fight hard to make it to our 25th anniversary and to have many more years after that. They removed my esophagus and lifted my stomach. The recovery was uncomfortable and I had to learn how to eat differently, but it was a small price to pay for great health, freedom from cancer, and a lifetime with Lucy and Ashley.

When I started to learn more about Barrett’s esophagus, I found out that my ordeal could have been way less dramatic and complicated had they discovered it earlier, because they could have prevented my cancer.
 
I’m happy to tell you that with the help of HSC Foundation donors like you, the hospital plans to set up a new Thoracic Endoscopy Unit that will improve the care of patients with esophageal and lung cancer. And it will help patients who are at risk of developing these cancers. This new unit and the equipment that comes with it will shorten wait times at the hospital and help doctors diagnose and treat people earlier and faster. I also understand that the new equipment will help researchers and attract more top talent to the hospital. Simply put, with this new unit, more people will live. 

Thanks to you and HSC Winnipeg, Luis is out and about, enjoying life as a dad.
The new thoracic endoscopy unit needs up to $3 million in funding. Your gift can help make that happen sooner rather than later. And your gift will help other vital hospital programs and services, too.

As for me, I’ll get up early tomorrow to walk the dog before work. On Friday, I’ll volunteer at my community centre. On Saturday, I’ll watch Ashley dance. On Sunday, I’ll go to church. It’s good to be alive.

Please donate now. The next patient like me is depending on a donor like you.

Sincerely,

Luis Soares