Our province’s tiniest hearts will receive specialized cardiac care in the new Pediatric Catheterization Lab at Children’s Hospital of Saskatchewan thanks to a generous gift of $3 million made in December by the David and Karen Holst Family Foundation.

A couple presents a cheque

David and Karen Holst present their donation to the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan during a ceremony in December.

The contribution will support the sophisticated equipment and space needed to outfit the new “cath lab” within the provincial children’s hospital, ensuring pediatric heart patients get the care they need right when they need it most. Pediatricians, cardiologists, anesthesiologists and nurses all attended the announcement and shared in the celebration of this gift.

Thanks to significant advancements in pediatric cardiology over the last several years, many types of heart defects in children are now easily corrected without the need for open-heart surgery; but the necessary equipment comes with a high price tag and large space requirements. When philanthropists David and Karen Holst were introduced to the need for a Pediatric Cardiac Catheterization Lab within the new hospital, they instantly knew this was a project they wanted to support.

The couple, who were born and raised in Saskatchewan, feel blessed to be in a position where they can give back to the community that has given so much to them. As proud grandparents, they are keen to do their part in helping to care for our province’s next generation.

“Children are our future so it’s important that we give them the best start possible in life. That includes providing them with the highest quality healthcare available,” says Karen Holst. The couple hope that their gift inspires others to give to the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan.

Speaking on behalf of families who needed the services of a Cardiac Catheterization Lab were parents of 11-month-old Vinia, who was diagnosed with aortic stenosis at just three months of age. The condition meant that Vinia’s pulmonary valve was too narrow to pump adequate blood flow to her lungs.

The diagnosis came as a shock to her young parents, Andrea and Nathan, who feared for their baby’s future. But only a few short hours after the procedure was performed, a once quiet and routinely sleepy Vinia became active and energetic. Three months after her procedure, Vinia is now quickly catching up to her twin brothers’ milestone achievements.

“We are so very grateful to the amazing cardiology staff for taking such good care of our precious little girl. There are no words that can express how grateful we are. How do you thank someone for saving your daughter’s life? We hope that by being here today, we can pay it forward by expressing our appreciation on behalf of kids who will be given their chance at life because of your generosity”, said mom Andrea.

Accepting the donation on behalf of the Children’s Hospital Foundation was president and CEO, Brynn Boback-Lane, who thanked the Holst family for “giving our medical team an incredible gift and giving children and families in Saskatchewan added hope”.

The Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan is proud to have had the opportunity to connect the family’s philanthropic goals with something so essential for the new hospital.

“Meeting families like Vinia’s really helps to put things into perspective. This is about everyday people helping everyday kids and we want to celebrate the many lives that will be impacted through the generosity of the Holst family. By investing in equipment and technology today, David and Karen are helping us build better tomorrows for Saskatchewan children,” says Boback-Lane.

The new provincial children’s hospital is being built to address the unique medical needs of children and their families. With construction already underway, the foundation’s focus will now be on ensuring that the new facility is equipped with everything it needs to be a centre of excellence in pediatric care.

“As we prepare to move into a new children’s hospital, it is important that we develop a strategic plan in order to achieve excellence in our clinical and academic missions. In a joint and shared vision, the Department of Pediatrics is striving to improve the health of children in the best family-centered environment, while focusing on training the next generation of pediatricians and creating groundbreaking research”, says Department Head of Pediatrics, Dr. Laurentiu Givelichian. The inclusion of the Pediatric Cardiac Catheterization Lab is just one of the pieces that will truly make it a children’s hospital.

Children’s Hospital of Saskatchewan will serve pregnant women, mothers, babies, children and teenagers from across the province, offering leading edge healthcare equipment and technology, research programs and innovation – all with a focus on family-centred care.