When Peggy Benko sustained a ruptured brain aneurysm, time was not on her side.

She needed emergency surgery after collapsing in her office at work and the closest hospital was more than three hours away by ground.

Thanks to our allies in communities across Western Canada, STARS was available to carry and care for Benko.

“Every minute counted,” said Benko, who was flown to hospital, where the stroke team performed an eight-hour surgery to stop and prevent future bleeding. Her heart stopped four times before she arrived in the surgical suite.

“Had my aneurysm happened two years earlier, before STARS opened in Saskatchewan, I would
not have survived or I would definitely have had brain damage from the long drive to hospital.”

Stroke is one of the leading causes of death in Canada, killing more than 14,000 Canadians every year. Last year, 50,000 Canadians suffered a stroke, according to the latest figures available.

Now that she’s recovered, Benko wants to help ensure others have a chance to receive the timely care too.

As a lawyer, Benko encourages planned giving as a way to leave a legacy.

“Planned giving is a great way to let your memory go on,” said Benko, who was able to walk her son down the aisle just eight months after her life-changing illness. And about one year later she learned that she was going to be a grandmother to identical twin girls.

Those milestones reminded her of the importance of helping to ensure STARS is there for the next critically ill or injured patient.

“I have left a bequest in my will for STARS and I would encourage people to do that as it’s a great way to support STARS,” said Benko. “They gave me my life back.”

Fred Matiko, development officer, legacy giving with STARS, sees legacy gifts as one of the most significant and lasting gifts you can make.

“It is simple to leave a legacy and allows donors to leave a larger gift than would be possible during their lifetime, while still retaining control of their assets,” said Matiko. “Legacy and planned giving gifts to STARS all go to helping STARS save a life. You help ensure that we are there for the next critically ill or injured patient.”