John and Lorna Levac's Story

Hospitals are those unique places where one can experience both devastating loss and exuberant, miraculous joy. John and Lorna Levac have experienced both at Mount Sinai, most recently the elation surrounding the birth of their beautiful boy, Ben! Through it all they have remained profoundly grateful and staunchly dedicated to giving back to the Hospital that has cared for them so well.

Two and half years ago, when Lorna was 20 weeks pregnant with their first child, she and John received the devastating news that the baby had passed away in utero. Though the standard course of action would be to quickly deliver the baby, they had to wait several weeks to do so because of a medical complication. To complicate things further, Lorna went into labour days before her scheduled delivery, and what subsequently unfolded nearly took her life.

“I ended up in the emergency department, had to receive eight units of blood and nearly lost my life,” says Lorna. “I think it was all just too much for my body – the hormones, the trauma, and probably just the emotional devastation too. It was so terrible for John, who thought that he was going to lose me too, in addition to our child.”

While they had received wonderful care during the pregnancy from Dr. Gareth Seaward, Fetal Medicine Specialist, it was Dr. Greg Ryan, Head of the Fetal Medicine Unit, who was on call that night. “He was incredible,” said John. “He expertly got her through those terrifying few hours, stabilized her and then she just kept improving after that. What astonished us was seeing Dr. Ryan 20 hours later as he came in to check on Lorna. He was still there. He’s like Superman.”

Lorna was also amazed by the loving care she received from the nurses. “Here I was, pregnant with our first child who had passed away,” she remembers. “I was on the postpartum floor, which would usually mean in the same area as women and their new babies. However, the nurses made a point of keeping me separate, and put me in my own room. They cared enough to consider details like that, which made such a difference to us.”

The next year, the couple met with Dr. Lisa Allen, Head of Gynaecology at Mount Sinai, who performed surgery on Lorna and gave the couple the green light to move forward. “The surgery was very successful, and Dr. Allen gave us full clearance to start trying for a child again,” remembers Lorna. “Shortly after, we were thrilled to find out I was pregnant.”

After a smooth, low-risk (but closely monitored!) pregnancy, Ben was born on John’s birthday, September 26. “I can’t imagine a better birthday present,” says John. “If you ask anyone who is lucky enough to have a child, the day that child is born is the happiest day of your life. All I want to do is come home from work and see him. It’s been wonderful.”

Will the Levac Attack continue? “You bet. We love it – we look forward to it every year, and it’s become a great way to connect with our family and friends,” says John. “Plus, I’m itching to pass that $50,000 mark so I can get my star on the wall at Mount Sinai!”

"We knew right away that we wanted to do something to say thank you for the exceptional care we got,” says Lorna. “So many of our caregivers inspired us with hope and confidence and provided such attentive expertise. It’s almost impossible to say thank you for that.”