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Angel & Roger’s Story

It is not often that we come across a story as striking and as heartwarming as that of our staff members Roger and Angel l’Huillier. 

High school sweethearts, husband and wife, parents, co-workers, Foundation donors  and truly partners for life.

Roger is a cardiac nurse for the New Brunswick Heart Centre on 5B North and he wanted to get involved in raising funds to benefit the 2012 campaign.  He knew of the great work being done for the cardiac patients of our province and he wanted to get involved in making the purchase of the new Heart/Lung bypass machines possible.  Roger was planning to get the service group that he belongs to put on a benefit concert.  Roger and I began making plans.  But after a couple of weeks I stopped hearing from him, so I sought him out.

In those few days Roger’s life had taken an unexpected turn.

For months Angel, Roger’s wife and high school sweetheart, had been suffering from debilitating headaches.  These headaches would keep her home from work, they would keep her home from attending Roger’s gig with well-known Saint John band Radio Factory.  Angel and Roger were concerned about these headaches, but on July 1, 2012, their concern would turn to fear.

It was 2 am when Roger returned home after playing a gig – he sat down and enjoyed his regular post-gig beer and relaxed for a time before heading to bed.  3 hours later – Roger was awakened by a scream – Angel, with her arms extended was screaming and then passed out.  Using his nursing skills, Roger administered CPR and worked to stabilize Angel’s vital signs before calling for an ambulance.

They took a speeding ambulance to the Emergency at the Saint John Regional Hospital – a place where they both work.

Upon arrival to hospital, Angel was put under the care of on-call neurosurgeon Dr. George Kolyvas.  Dr. Kolyvas was able to identify that Angel had a huge tumor in her brain.  The tumour was sitting behind her eye and it was the size of a golf ball.  Roger was told that there was a 20% chance that the tumour could be cancerous.  After stabilizing Angel and planning a course of action, on July 9th, Dr. Kolyvas and his team performed the surgery. 

Roger waited patient and tearfully with his family and NB Heart Centre colleagues in the NICU during the 8 hour procedure.  He waited to news of the surgery’s progress and of the status of Angel’s tumour.  After 6 hours they were able to establish that the tumour was not cancer – but they would have to wait until Angel woke up to know if the surgery had been a success.

After waking from her anesthesia, smiling and hungry - Roger’s prayers were answered and Angel’s healing began.  Angel remembered nothing of the episode and actually ended up not remembering much of the month leading up to her seizure.  Roger had taken photos of all of her friends and family that had come to visit and support her before and after her surgery.

Roger was able to stay home with Angel during her first six weeks home after the surgery and with great support she was able to return work in cardiac triage at our New Brunswick Heart Centre in 3 months.

Both Roger and Angel work at our hospital.  They work every day to make cardiac patients feel secure and comfortable in our incredible provincial Heart Centre.  They have both been commended for the work they do.  But what folks wouldn’t know is that they are both monthly donors to the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation through payroll deduction.  Every pay day, both Roger and Angel have a few dollars deducted from their pay.  Annually, these dollars add up to generous gifts that support the great work that our Foundation strives to do every day. 

It is the generosity of our donors, donors like Roger and Angel, that makes the work we do possible. 

Together, our donors have outfitted the new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the new Emergency Department and Level 1 Trauma Centre, established New Brunswick’s first and only Stem Cell Transplantation Lab and, in 2012, purchased 12 new pieces of critical, state-of-the-art tools for the New Brunswick’s Heart Centre.  Our Heart Centre is now on par with any cardiac care Centre in North America.  These are incredible accomplishments. 

Roger and Angel are high school sweethearts, husband and wife, parents, NB Heart Centre co-workers and Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation donors.

Please consider joining them, by joining us in meeting our goal for 2013.

The Give 2013 for Neurosurgery will be working to raise $850,000.  These funds to go towards the purchase of a neurosurgical microscope, and other items, for Dr. Kolyvas and his team .  This microscope will be used in the countless brain and spinal surgeries that are performed by our team of 5 neurosurgeons here at the Regional.

Please join Roger and Angel in making your gift today.