(PRESS RELEASE VIA SNO) – Sandals Regency La Toc Resort in Saint Lucia recently welcomed back a very special couple, who returned to the resort one year after what can only be described as the most difficult time of their lives.
It was because of the support they received from the team members at La Toc during that harrowing period, that Mark and Jan Hansen were able to make it through, and return on the anniversary of the event.
The couple who live in Minnesota had been married for 46 years and were visiting Sandals La Toc for the first time in March 2017. They were having the time of their lives according to Jan. They went zip-lining and enjoyed a catamaran ride before returning for some time on the golf course, and that’s when things took a frightening turn.
According to Jan, “Mark went into complete heart failure. The Golf Manager brought the Nurse (Annetta Popo-John, since retired) and she knew he was “pretty bad”. In quick time the Butler got us to our Suite. I remember my husband saying ‘I am not going to the hospital’, but of course we had to go.”
Dr. Romel Daniel met the couple as they arrived at Tapion Hospital and by then Mark’s pulse was less than 16. A traumatized Jan was worried that he was not going to make it. They rushed him to the emergency room, knowing that he may have had just seconds to live. Dr. Daniel and his team implanted a temporary pace maker, and although he had flat-lined during the procedure, it kept Mark alive.
Jan recalled returning to Sandals later that day to check out and pay any outstanding bills before going back to the hospital. At this point she did not know what her next step would be, when she got a call from the hotel. “They said we are bringing you back to Sandals. I replied that this is great but I can’t afford it. Sandals then said to me ‘don’t worry, you are coming back with us.”
Jan recalled that when she got back to the hotel it was an amazing experience. “All of the butlers came out to meet us in the Butler’s Lounge. They held my hands and prayed. Then we went to the same room we had booked earlier, and found that other guests at Sandals who had heard what had happened rallied together and put up money for us to meet any bills.”
Jan recalls that by this time the couple’s daughter, Erin Olsen-Washburn had arrived from Santa Barbara, California, and Sandals had a car waiting at the airport to take her directly to the hospital. Back at the hospital, a team was flown in from Florida, and they gave Mark a permanent pacemaker and were able to stabilize him.
Mark went into the hospital on Friday March 3rd, and was discharged on Tuesday. The doctors decided to send him back to Sandals La Toc, because they were sure that we would receive top of the line care and assistance there. The couple left the following Saturday.
This year Mark and Jan have celebrated a 47th anniversary, and despite the trauma of their experience, the love and support they received from both the medical staff at Tapion, as well as Sandals team members have caused them to return to Sandals La Toc on the anniversary of Mark’s heart attack.
“This is why we came back – to say thanks. That was our first trip to Sandals. This is our second trip back, just to say thanks. We have always lived a life of great gratitude. We don’t know if we are doing that special thing with Mark’s second chance, but we are so grateful. This is our closure.”
Mark has only a vague memory of what had happened. “Everything went dark. I could not hear anyone. I could see the bright light in the hospital as I lay on the table. They took good care of me. I spent five days in hospital.”
Jan says they also visited the hospital where they met with Dr. Daniel. “He said don’t thank me; I am simply an instrument of the Lord; God has taken your soul and walked you through a miracle.”
In addition to the medical team led by Dr. Daniel, as well as the Management team from Sandals Regency, there were a few special individuals that the couple wanted to thank including Sherryann Prospere from Housekeeping; Golf Manager Andrew Felicien; Butlers – Ficus Joseph Dwight and Barkus Henry.
“They saved our lives.” Jan declared simply, as she wiped away a tear and laid her head on her husband’s shoulder.