Joanna Salmingo was 30 years old when she had an allergic reaction to nuts.
For over two weeks, her family sat at her bedside in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSH), praying for her to wake up.
“In almost every way, my baby sister was already gone – with only machines keeping her alive,” says Joey Salmingo.
After 17 days in the ICU, her family made the decision to let Joanna go. Losing her was one of most devastating moments of her family’s life.
The staff in the ICU certainly took every opportunity to keep them up-to-date on Joanna’s condition. The staff opened their hearts to Joanna’s family and let them know, time and time again, they were not in this alone.
“If I could give every one of them a hug, I would,” says Joey. “The staff was there for one of the worst moments in our lives and had become like family.”
“I wouldn’t expect anything less,” says Diana who was a nurse at MSH from the day it opened until her retirement in 2020. “I know how deeply the staff cares. For every person who works there, the patient always comes first.”
Just before that unforgettable day, Joey received an email from one of Joanna’s childhood friends, Jan.
Jan had heard what was happening and wanted to help. They started talking on the phone and the calls turned into lunches which turned into dinners. Tragedy had brought them together. Last year, the couple discovered they were expecting.
“I’ll never forget the moment I heard I was going to be a grandmother for the first time,” says Diana. “I cried tears of joy.”
Journey Skye came into the world at MSH surrounded by the smiles of every person in the room. Diagnosed with jaundice, their baby girl spent a short time in the NICU.
“Journey received amazing care and we felt completely safe and comfortable even during the pandemic,” says Joey.
The hospital was there during the Salmingo’s most devastating moment of their lives. And the hospital was there again for their happiest.
Journey will be seven months old this Christmas. The family can’t wait to share all of their traditions with her as she grows up. She is a wonderful gift to all of them.
This holiday season consider making at donation to the Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation at mshf.on.ca.
Photo: Joey, Journey and Jan Salmingo.