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Getting to the heart of it all

September 1, 2017

Spencer Lalonde, MD’16
Spencer Lalonde, MD’16

After volunteering with liver transplant patients and, later, the heart transplant team at Toronto General Hospital, Spencer Lalonde, MD’16, knew his career path lay in medicine and cardiology.

“Ever since then, I’ve had an interest in advanced heart failure and transplantation, mainly because of the huge impact you can have on someone’s life,” said Lalonde, who entered his second year of internal medicine residency at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. “You can have somebody on death’s door – unable to get out of bed, unable to move, unable to walk – and they’re often only 40 or 50 years old. With a mechanical heart or a transplant, you can see them have a whole new lease on life. Seeing the impact it has on them and their loved ones; that’s why I love cardiology and transplantation.”

Lalonde was recently named the 2017 Dr. John D. Brown Memorial Resident Award recipient, which recognizes a postgraduate trainee who displays excellence in patient-centred care.

“I just feel honoured to be a part of the program, let alone being a part of people’s lives like this. I love doing research and may use some of the funds from the award to go to a conference and present the next project I’m working on – some may also go to my debt.”

As a Medical student, Lalonde relied on donor support to help ease the financial burden that comes with becoming a doctor. “A lot of us are $100,000-$150,000 in debt just to get out of medical school. Donor support means the difference in being able to travel to a conference or focus on studying, instead of having that financial cloud looming over you.

While there are many years of training still ahead of him, Lalonde is thankful for the supportive environment he’s found at Western and thrilled to eventually become a cardiologist.

“My mom is a nurse. Although she never tried to sway me one way or another, when she shared stories and I saw the impact she had on people’s lives, I was drawn to the field. I love what I do and I would never trade it for the world.”

This article appeared in the 2017 edition of Annual Impact
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