Three years ago, Bronwyn Huffman was an active 14-year-old who enjoyed curling and highland dancing. That was before she was diagnosed with pediatric acute myeloid leukemia (AML) on January 15, 2012 and airlifted to the Children’s Hospital in London, Ontario. Four months later, she suffered heart failure as a result of the chemotherapy and was rushed to the Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kids) in Toronto. Bronwyn required a Left Ventricular Assist Device be implanted to help propel blood throughout her body. For two years, she lived with the implanted device, waiting in Toronto to receive a new heart. On April 9, 2014 she received a life-altering heart transplant and has since returned to Thunder Bay.
On Friday, April 10, the one-year anniversary of her heart transplant, Bronwyn will share her incredible journey through leukemia, heart failure, and recovery at the 3rd Biennial Northwestern Ontario Cardiology Summit, hosted by the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC). “I feel it’s important to share my story with the medical community so they can get a teenager’s perspective,” says Bronwyn. The general public is invited to attend the Friday evening dinner and presentation.
“Not only is the Summit a great occasion for healthcare professionals to connect with colleagues and members of the community, it also features presentations from leaders in the field of cardiology from across Canada,” says Arlene Thomson, Director of the Cardiovascular and Stroke Program at TBRHSC.
Joining Bronwyn as a fellow keynote speaker will be Dr. Jennifer Conway, discussing the outcomes and potential complications seen in pediatric patients with congenital heart disease following their transition to the world of adult medicine.
After completing her MD from the University of British Columbia in 2002, Dr. Conway completed her pediatric and cardiology training at the IWK Health Center in Nova Scotia. She then pursued subspecialty training in pediatric heart transplants, heart function, and mechanical support at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto until June 2013, when she joined the team at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton. Dr. Conway’s subspecialty training, career, and research have focused on the care of children with end-stage heart failure, including mechanical assist devices and transplantation.
On Saturday, April 11, healthcare professionals will hear from leading cardiology experts including: Dr. Michel R. Le May, Interventional Cardiologist and Professor of Medicine with the University of Ottawa Heart Institute; Dr. Fraser Rubens, program director for the Cardiac Surgery Residency Training Program at the University of Ottawa and researcher; and Dr. Mark Henderson, Interventional Cardiologist and Executive Vice President, Patient Services at TBRHSC.
“Cardiology interventions such as medical and surgical procedures are constantly evolving and this Summit offers participants an extraordinary occasion to hear from leaders in the field and to explore state-of-the-art innovations,” says Dr. Henderson. “These best practices and resources will help further advance the care and treatment we provide to our patients in our region.”
The Northwestern Ontario Cardiology Summit 2015 takes place on Friday, April 10 at the Fort William Historical Park, and on Saturday, April 11 at the Airlane Hotel and Conference Centre.
For more information about the Cardiology Summit and to register, please visit: www.tbrhsc.net/cardiologysummit.