Test Your Limits – Every Day

For Dr. Heather Ross, testing one’s limits can come in many forms.

“Test Your Limits doesn’t have to be about climbing a mountain. What you do in any given day – things happen, things are thrown at you, challenges come up that test you in different ways. They test your patience, they test your mental capacity, they test your work or your ethic – they test some aspect of your life.”

Dr. Ross’ patients push past limits every day. The following five part series showcases the ways in which her patients test their limits – every day.


Helen Farinha’s Story

“My policy is: I got a new heart, I got a new lease at life – a second chance. So I’ve got to put my heart into everything I do.”


Heart transplant recipient Helen Farinha crosses the finish line at the 2014 Canadian Transplant Games. (Photo: Helen Farinha)

Watch Helen’s story on UHN.ca: http://bit.ly/1qB97FT


Sari’s Story:

“I want to do so many things. Now I can.”


To celebrate his one-year anniversary of his heart transplant, Sari completed the CN Tower EdgeWalk in August 2014. (Photo: Sari)

Read Sari’s full story on UHN.ca: http://bit.ly/1rHNqjv


Amy Mathers’ Story:

“Every day is a gift.”


Multi-organ transplant recipient Amy Mathers is in the midst of a very unique marathon across the country. (Photo: UHN)

Watch Amy’s full story on UHN.ca: http://bit.ly/1rXYXkY


Matthew Lierman’s Story:

“I got my best friend back,” says 14-year-old Jessica Lierman as she recalls the turbulent years leading up to her father, Matt Lierman’s, heart transplant.

lilly matt and jess

Matthew Lierman, with his daughters Jess and Lily just over a month after his heart transplant. (Photo: Matthew Lierman)

Watch his full story on UHN.ca: http://bit.ly/1D0jeJe


Bill Best’s Story:

“You have to live after your transplant.”

bill best

A month after his heart transplant, Bill Best rode his motorcycle to his check-up at Toronto General Hospital. (Photo: Bill Best)

Read his full story on UHN.ca: http://ow.ly/BwYO9

While many of her patients find inspiration in Dr. Ross, she finds just as much inspiration from them.

“I’m quite lucky to be challenged and inspired by my patients and the incredible things that they do every day,” she says.

Day 19: Union Glacier – The hits just keep comin’…

We are battening down the hatches for a significant storm, with winds expected 40 to 50 knots. The day was spent preparing and ensuring that tents are secure and nothing is loose.

It was hard to imagine this morning that a storm would be moving in, as it was a spectacular day – about – 2 and sunny with not a cloud in the sky. The staff have been amazing keeping us informed of all the updates. At present, there is no further news on the Ilyushin. Continue reading “Day 19: Union Glacier – The hits just keep comin’…”

Q&A With Dr. Ross

Thank you to all of the readers who have submitted questions for Dr. Ross and the Test Your Limits team. If you have a question you would like her to answer, please comment below, or send your question to alyshia.vanveen@uhn.ca

How long do you guys get to sleep? 

We’re usually in the tent for about 12 hours, but, sleep is broken up because of wind, cold and a need to pee at night. The sun is very bright – it’s 24 hours of sunlight – so on average, most of us get about 5 hours of sleep. But rest is almost as important as sleep, and we do get a lot of hours of rest. Continue reading “Q&A With Dr. Ross”

Day 17: Union Glacier – Bad luck reasserts itself

Well, OMG… Here we are again, stuck, as the Ilyushin isn’t flying. Apparently they switched an engine out and still there were problems.

Given how long we’ve been away, I had Dale count his pills. I then spoke to the ALE team to let them know how many days of anti-rejection drugs we have left and what was the Plan B if Ilyushin wasn’t going to fly…. in time… Continue reading “Day 17: Union Glacier – Bad luck reasserts itself”

Reaching The South Pole – Photos

Promoting beadonor.ca at the South Pole


at the pole
DD and HR at South Pole Stn keith and HR kissing south pole snow angels011313tug The team poses with the marker
They made it!
The official South Pole marker
Nick & Simon smile at the pole
The proudly Canadian Test Your Limits team
The entire group at the pole
Yahoo! Canada’s flag survived the trek, too!

011313the pole

Day 15: South Pole Station

We were incredibly lucky to get a tour of the station. What an amazing place. There are approximately 150 people who spend the summer there and it drops down to 50 “winter overs” who stay for the long, cold, dark winter.

The South Pole station is part of the National Science Foundation. They have multiple projects ongoing that are largely geared to understanding global warming and what space – living, existing – would be like. We did a two-hour tour by Shannon who does HR. It was amazing.

Because of the potential challenges of a long winter, there are multiple rooms geared to stress relief including a gym, living room, a game room, a craft room, and a hydroponic room where they grow veggies for the winter. Continue reading “Day 15: South Pole Station”

Day 14: Courage and Challenge

We made it!

At 4:30 p.m. EST, the TYL team achieved the South Pole!

The Day

We woke up the best day yet; blue sky, not one cloud to be seen. We set off early. As we walked, we could see the South Pole start to emerge on the horizon. We had to go east and east and east while the station went by on our right.

It was like having a fine plate of Soma chocolate and not being allowed to reach out and take some. We desperately wanted to go in a straight line to get to the actual South Pole, but weren’t allowed. The reason is that we would have crossed into a Neutrino field…. Really (?!?!) Continue reading “Day 14: Courage and Challenge”