Angelo DiNardo first noticed something was wrong nearly three years ago, while playing basketball in the men’s league he organizes. “I had a burning feeling in my throat and chest, and I just knew something wasn’t right,” Angelo says. With a family history of heart disease in the back of his mind – his father passed away suddenly in his 40s – Angelo immediately scheduled a heart stress test at Sunnybrook, where he has worked in the Microbiology Lab for three decades.
After an angiogram found blockages, Angelo underwent triple bypass surgery that same month. “Since I’ve worked at Sunnybrook for so long, I was confident the surgery would go well. The Schulich Heart Program has a good reputation, and I knew I was in very good hands,” he says.
The surgery was a success, and he was able to return to his job at Sunnybrook as a medical laboratory technologist. As a patient, Angelo gained a new perspective on just how important the work is that he does in the lab.
“When physicians want to know what’s causing an infection in a patient, we test the bacteria sample and identify the organisms, which helps them figure out which antibiotic should be used to treat the patient,” says Angelo. “I really enjoy working in the lab because there’s never a dull moment. Bacteria and organisms are constantly changing and evolving, so there’s always something new to learn.”
Angelo discovered his passion for microbiology early in life. “Growing up, I loved playing with the microscope, doing experiments and pretending to be a scientist,” he says. He is now teaching the next generation of medical laboratory technologists, working part time as a lab instructor at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.
In addition to teaching, Angelo recently went back to school. After studying part time for five years, with a brief interruption for his heart surgery, he graduated this year with a bachelor’s degree in allied health science. “Learning, teaching and making improvements have always been an important part of my life,” he says. “I’m forever grateful to the cardiology team for helping me get back to doing what I love.”
Photography by Doug Nicholson