17 Years of the Gift of Heart Health

Vortex is already planning its 17th annual charity golf tournament, which will take place on Saturday, August 10th, at the Atlantide Golf Course on Île-Perrot. As always, proceeds will benefit Angela’s Big Hearts for Little Kids Fund, which helps support the Cardiology and Cardiovascular Surgery departments at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. 

Vortex is very proud to raise funds for an organization that has such a big impact on the lives of sick children and their families, so we thought we would give you a closer look at the Fund and the little girl behind it all.

Angela’s story

Cathy (Mother) and Angela in her arms
Cathy (Mother) and Angela in her arms

On June 12, 2000, Cathy McDonald and Duncan Meikle welcomed their second child, a daughter they named Angela.

Born at full term, Angela had been diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome while still in the womb. This meant that the left ventricle of her heart had failed to develop properly and wouldn’t be able to pump enough oxygenated blood through her body once she was born. As a result, Angela’s parents and doctors had decided on a high-risk surgical treatment plan to give Angela a chance at survival. The series of three heart operations, with the first in the few weeks following her birth, were recent developments to counter the effects of a condition that had previously been fatal.

Angela was transferred to the neonatal ICU at the Montreal Children’s Hospital on her very first night as she quickly developed complications, and the possibility of even performing the first surgery was thrown into doubt. But little Angela fought and underwent the procedure at 12 days old, recovering from the surgery in the Pediatric ICU.
Throughout her stay, family members spent long days at the hospital. They marveled at the tremendous dedication, compassion, and openness of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers in caring for Angela, despite the difficult conditions lack of funding can create.

Angela continued to surprise her care team with her progress, enough to transfer her back to the neonatal ICU, then to let her go home with her parents on August 12th. Sadly, after just a few happy weeks at home, she went into respiratory distress on August 25th and passed away before emergency services could arrive.

Angela’s legacy

Her family was devastated but determined to honor Angela’s fighting spirit and the dedication of the healthcare personnel who cared for her. Angela’s grandfather, Paul McDonald, set up an endowment fund in her memory at The Montreal Children’s Hospital. Known as Angela’s Big Hearts for Little Kids Fund, the fund has been supporting activities and research for the pediatric cardiovascular surgery team at the Montreal Children’s Hospital for almost 20 years, so that other children like Angela have the chance to survive and lead normal lives.

The foundation helps based on the needs of the Montreal Children’s Hospital’s Cardiovascular Surgery division year over year. Angela’s Big Hearts for Little Kids Fund is instrumental in saving the lives of children with cardiac malformation by helping the expert medical team develop new procedures, procure state-of-the-art equipment, expand, develop, and improve programs and services, and invest in research.

Among other initiatives, the foundation was a founder sponsor of the World Society for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery (WSPCHS), which gathers pediatricians from around the world to share their knowledge in the World Journal for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery.

Vortex has a big heart for Angela and the Kids

Last year's fundraise from Vortex Annual Charity Golf Tournament for Angela's Big Hearts for Kids Fund
Last year's fundraise from Vortex Annual Charity Golf Tournament for Angela's Big Hearts for Kids Fund

Being in the field of developing aquatic play for children, it was only natural for Vortex to choose to give back to a children’s health charity, to help ensure that every child has the opportunity to grow and play. 

With both organizations based in Pointe-Claire, a strong sense of community only bolstered Vortex employees’ resolve to support for Angela’s Big Hearts for Little Kids Fund. 

"We are proud to say that over the past 16 years, we have raised over $150,000.00, and we look forward to doing more in the future" by Stephen Hamelin, CEO & President at Vortex.

This year’s golf tournament hopes to double last year’s donation. The event will be held on Saturday, August 10th, at the Atlantide Golf Course on Île-Perrot. The Tournament is open to the public but space is limited: for more information, see Vortex Golf Tournament Facebook event page.