St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton is often affectionately referred to as the Hospital in the Heart of #HamOnt. It’s a moniker that has been earned through 130 years of providing hope, healing and compassionate care.

If you chat with someone who has lived in Hamilton for a while, chances are they have a story about themselves or a loved one who was cared for at St. Joe’s. Alison Pipe has her very own St. Joe’s story.

Since the age of 18, Alison has often been a patient of our Hospital. In fact, she credits the care team here for saving her life & providing exceptional care & support on more than one occasion.

In her late teens, Alison found herself in a medically induced coma in the Intensive Care Unit at St. Joe’s to treat multiple ailments that had been caused by a trauma.

Photo credit: Joshua Furman

Alison grew up in and around conditions that regularly exposed her to illegal street substances. Her career motivations and life-goals were enough to prevent her from seriously considering any substance abuse until her home life became more tumultuous in her late teens. This unfortunately caused Alison to succumb to the pressure of easily-accessible drugs and family rituals – though she quickly realized how devastating that lifestyle can be.

Alison’s exposure to substance use led to kidney failure, a heart attack (despite her very young age), and having to learn how to walk again. The next 2 ½ months of Alison’s life were consumed with regular dialysis treatments, cardiovascular monitoring and physical rehabilitation. Alison jokes that there were very few areas of the Hospital she hadn’t visited during her recovery.

16 years later, sober, and a successful owner of a digital marketing firm, Alison is a 34-year-old mother of two beautiful babies, now 15 and 8, both delivered…of course…at St. Joe’s.

Photo credit: Malakai Small


“The care that I received from St. Joe’s and each and every staff member I encountered over the last 16 years has left a profound impact on me. I went from thinking I may never walk unassisted or run again, to finding my way to recovery, and living a full life complete with two beautiful children. This Hospital has seen me through my darkest and my brightest days and I am so incredibly thankful,” says Alison.

To celebrate her 34th birthday, Alison has decided to run a Facebook fundraiser to support St. Joe’s. ‘I am so grateful to the countless staff, specialists and physicians at St. Joe’s who have enabled me to be the person I am today. In lieu of presents, I hope to be able to repay the hospital for the best gift I have ever received–a second chance at life.”

To learn more about Alison’s fundraiser or to donate, please visit