stories with heart Kinanâskomitin - I Am Grateful to You

“I had suffered from heart issues in the past, and I knew immediately what I needed to do.”

The CK Hui Heart Centre at the Royal Alex was there for Gilman when he needed it.

Born and raised in the small northern Alberta village of Calling Lake, Gilman Cardinal has always understood the value of family.

Today, Gilman relies on the support of another family, the team at the CK Hui Heart Centre.

“I had two moms and two dads,” Gilman reflects. “I was extremely lucky to be raised by both my mother and my grandmother, and to have my father and grandfather guiding me throughout my childhood.”

When Gilman was a young man, he made a promise to his mother that he would leave his village to pursue a position with the government. With this promise, began Gilman’s journey to more than 40 years of working for the government to promote and support his Indigenous heritage.

“I made my mother a promise, and I kept it,” Gilman shares.

“She knew I could do more good for our culture outside of the small boundary of Calling Lake, and she was right. Through my work, I was able to share the world views, strengths, and gifts of my culture with others: work I continue to do today.”

This past June, Gilman lost his mother. She lived a long and full life; even so, the loss hit Gilman very hard. In Gilman’s opinion, this was the beginning of his severe heart issue.

The CK Hui Heart Centre at the Royal Alex was there for Gilman recently when he needed it.

After returning from a road trip, Gilman—weary from the travel— arrived home and attempted to lay down for a well-deserved rest; unfortunately, rest never came.

“I could tell something was wrong,” remembers Gilman.

“I will always hold the team at the CK Hui close to my heart. They saved my life, and for that, I am forever grateful. Kinanâskomitin.”

“I had suffered from heart issues in the past, and I knew immediately what I needed to do.”

Driving himself to the Royal Alex, he arrived at the Emergency department and was quickly assessed by the team.

“I remember the doctor coming in and saying, ‘Well Gilman, did you know that you had a heart attack earlier today? And did you know that you are having another right now?’”

Gilman was shocked. He had other heart issues in the past, but nothing so serious. It wasn’t long before Gilman was moved to the CK Hui Heart Centre, where doctors placed two stents to open up the blood flow to his heart once again.

Years ago, a condition like the one Gilman suffered from would have likely meant the loss of his life. Today, thanks to donor contributions for equipment and the support of research so patients can continue living full and enjoyable lives, even after such a serious issues occurs.

“Over the last few years, there has been recognition that rapid treatment of patients with heart attacks markedly reduces mortality. By the time a patient arrives at the hospital, a care team has been assembled and patients are brought directly to the cardiology area for treatment, in most cases bypassing the emergency department.

The Edmonton region has one of the best survival rates— if not the highest for heart attack victims— in the country because of this system,” said Dr. Neil Brass, Chief of Cardiology.

“The heart is the most sacred part of the body in my culture,” states Gilman. “I will always hold the team at the CK Hui close to my heart. They saved my life, and for that I am forever grateful. Kinanâskomitin.”