I suppose I should begin by telling you that I was born with a rather rare form of Muscular Dystrophy called Myotonia Congenita. It’s a genetic disorder that affects my muscles and causes stiffness, intense muscle spasms and cramping. For most of my life, I’ve been receiving physiotherapy and care at various hospitals and rehabilitation centres—some might call me a “regular” in the healthcare system.

Last year, I had a muscle seizure so severe that it caused me to fall and break my hip. And after it was repaired, I found myself at St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Guelph for the very first time—even though I have lived in this community for 35 years. In case you thought that St. Joe’s was only a long-term care home, allow me to clarify that they have a whole host of programs and services, including providing exceptional rehabilitation care for people like me, who’ve had a life-altering accident or injury.

Over the next few weeks, as I healed, I watched the gardeners maintain immaculate grounds from my window early in the morning. I spoke with the care-taking staff as they cleaned my room until it was spotless and sparkling each and every day. I leaned on the support of my physiotherapy team who patiently but persistently helped me to regain my mobility thanks to assisted walking devices that I learned were purchased thanks to the donations received from people like you.

Like so many in our province, I once believed that government funding provided everything a Hospital or Health Centre like St. Joe’s would need. But in fact, government funding does not cover the costs of medical equipment purchases, replacements or repairs. That’s why donations to St. Joseph’s Health Centre Foundation are so important. They help to ensure the competent and kind care team has the tools they need to help the patients they serve. They help people like me to learn to walk again.

Knowing how fortunate I am to receive this level of care, when I returned to my home in Puslinch, Ontario I penned a letter to the editor of Puslinch Today to sing the praises of this Health Centre that we are all so fortunate to have in our midst. And I confess that I am citing it again word for word— because I feel this call to action bears repeating.

“All of us who live in this area should be so grateful that we have St. Joseph’s in our community. We should not take it for granted. Support the Health Centre to the best of your ability or in any way you can. Patients like me will be forever grateful that you did.”

 Bill Knetsch is a grateful patient of St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Guelph. He continues to visit the centre once per week for physiotherapy. He’s also a valued member of the Patient and Family Advisory Council and offers a patient perspective to help inform and improve the care we provide.