Couple Falls in Love after Both Suffered a Stroke

HAMILTON, ON: Jeff and Jennifer Wolfenden’s lives became intertwined in ways they could never have expected.

Photo of Jeff and Jennifer Wolfenden

Jeff and Jennifer Wolfenden, Strides For The General Patient Ambassadors

“We’d both suffered a heart attack in our thirties and a stroke in our forties,” explains Jennifer.

Jeff was 36 years old when he suffered a heart attack in 2003.

“They discovered that I had a blood disorder which causes an increase in blood clotting,” says Jeff. “That probably contributed to my stroke in 2008. It’s thanks to the teams at Hamilton General Hospital that I relearned how to swallow, walk and use my arm after my stroke.”

Jennifer suffered a heart attack in 2006 when she was 37 years old. She underwent an angioplasty at Hamilton General Hospital, which is a procedure to widen obstructed blood vessels.

She returned to Hamilton General Hospital in 2010 when she suffered a stroke.

“I was treated with clot-busting medication and I worked extensively with a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist, and a speech-language pathologist,” says Jennifer.

Jeff and Jennifer, who live in Hamilton, met for the first time at a stroke survivors’ support group in 2010 and married each other in June 2013.

“We’re grateful for the life we have together and we’re excited about what the future holds,” says Jennifer.

Thankful for the level of care they received, Jeff and Jennifer decided to give back and fundraise in support of Hamilton General Hospital Foundation as Strides For The General Patient Ambassadors, along with two other grateful patients. Jeff and Jennifer are sharing their story to inspire community support for the event.

Hamilton General Hospital Foundation’s eighth annual Strides For The General, presented by Medtronic, will be held on Saturday, September 15 at Bayfront Park in Hamilton. The event features a 5K walk, timed 5K and 10K runs, complimentary breakfast and lunch, live music, participant medals, and prizes for top fundraisers and finishers. All proceeds will support Hamilton General Hospital, including the Regional Rehabilitation Centre.

Thanks to the tremendous support of participants and event sponsors, past proceeds from Strides For The General have purchased more than 60 pieces of essential equipment, directly benefiting patients today. As a leading teaching hospital, it is also important to ensure that the latest equipment is available for the education of future medical practitioners.

Building on last year’s success, the event has set a goal to raise a minimum of $150,000. Since 2011, the event has grossed more than $940,000 with the goal of exceeding $1 million in total donations in 2018.

Both individuals and teams are encouraged to participate in the event.

To register and fundraise, visit: hamiltonhealth.ca/strides

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About Hamilton General Hospital Foundation:

Hamilton General Hospital Foundation, as part of Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation, is focused on raising funds in support of Hamilton General Hospital, the Regional Rehabilitation Centre and their programs. The Foundation provides funding for leading-edge equipment and patient amenities, innovative research initiatives, redevelopment of patient care spaces, and the education and training of health care providers.

Hamilton General Hospital Foundation supports specialized cardiac and vascular care, trauma and burn treatment, stroke and neurosciences, and rehabilitation programs. The site is home to Ontario’s highest volume cardiac surgical centre and integrated stroke program. It is also one of only two adult regional burn centres in the province, and it houses an intensive rehabilitation centre for patients recovering from stroke, acquired brain injury, amputation or spinal cord injury.  The Foundation is focused on enabling outstanding patient care through its goal of Health Care, Transformed.

Media Contact:

Michael Cordeiro
Marketing and Communications Specialist
Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation
905-521-2100 ext. 73374
cordeiromi@hhsc.ca