Candy Palmater remembers the day she couldn’t ignore or fight the pain any longer. “I was alone in a hotel room and I couldn't put on my own nylons.” At the young age of 40, Candy was forced to face the truth that she needed a hip replacement.

Diagnosed with arthritis two years earlier, Candy did her best to not to let her condition hold her back.

“I suffered with arthritis pain for years, until it took my independence from me. I could no longer drive or sit through a movie,” recalls Candy, who at the time, was at the beginning of a budding career in entertainment.

Candy was referred to Dr. Michael Dunbar, an orthopaedic surgeon at the QEII Health Sciences Centre. Dr. Dunbar was confident he could get Candy back on her feet, living a life free of pain. “Dr. Dunbar performed my hip replacement and gave me my life back; a fully functional life without pain. I am forever grateful.”

This September, Candy stood proud and delivered her inspiring story at an announcement that will be welcome news to Atlantic Canadians who will greatly benefit from further research into the complicated area of orthopaedics.

Dr. Dunbar was named the inaugural QEII Foundation Endowed Chair in Arthroplasty Outcomes.

Each year, over 6,600 Atlantic Canadians receive orthopaedic surgery at the QEII. Of that 6,600 patients, more than 1,200 receive hip and knee replacement surgery. Nova Scotia has significant challenges associated with the delivery of arthroplasty care, which is a surgical procedure to restore the integrity and function of a joint. Challenges in the delivery of care include long wait times for surgery and even more concerning, a higher failure rate than the national average.

“The power of this chair position is how it intersects with many disciplines and the ability to look for patterns,” explains Dr. Dunbar. “Atlantic Canada is chronically behind in arthroplasty outcomes and we need to know why. As chair, I can align with national and international efforts and research data to improve arthroplasty care and bring that learning here to the QEII.”

An endowed research chair provides stable funding, allowing further medical advancements to be made in a dedicated area. The funds exist in perpetuity; only the interest from the investment is used to fund the research.

The QEII Foundation Endowed Chair in Arthroplasty Outcomes is a $2.8-million investment and was made possible through generous QEII Foundation donors, including funding partners BMO Financial Group and the QEII Health Sciences Centre Division of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Hip and knee replacements transform lives. It relieves pain, restores physical function and greatly improves quality of life. Since her surgery, Candy’s career has sky rocketed — something, she says, that wouldn't have been possible without her hip replacement surgery at the QEII under Dr. Dunbar’s confident ability.

“I am hopeful that research will continue to advance so that others living under the oppression of extreme pain can experience the liberation that replacement surgery can bring,” says Candy.