Steve and Sarah Ibbotson of Three Hills, Ab. participated in a congenital heart disease education forum in Calgary on Feb. 24, 2019.
With February being Congenital Heart Defect Awareness month, their positive response to an invitation from cardiologist Dr. Tim Prieur and his assistant, nurse-clinician Yvonne Balon, saw the couple travel to the Peter Lougheed Centre where Dr. Ibbotson was interviewed about growing to adulthood with a congenital heart disease, holding down a job and raising a family.
More than 100 doctors, nurses and other medical professionals attended the Ibbotson’s hour-long multimedia session which featured questions from his healthcare providers and the audience.
The purpose of the Ibbotson session was to put a real-life face on dealing with children and young adults with heart conditions or diseases.
“I was told,” Ibbotson said in an interview, “I was a good example to share at the end of their congenital heart disease education day.”
Ibbotson has had pulmonary vascular disease and Eisenmenger syndrome from birth which is a common sight as he uses his electric wheelchair around Three Hills.
Asked if he is past the life expectancy for those with his condition, Ibbotson said, “Today’s medical advancements for newborns with heart conditions were unavailable when I was born in 1972. Though my parents were never given a specific life expectancy, it was not to adulthood.”
Ibbotson’s faith journey is relevant to his lifestyle, so he asked nurse clinician Balon if the faith-related statements in his session were appropriate.
“Yes,” she said. “Before you arrived for your presentation, we talked about the spiritual aspects of life. Your comments fit right in.”