More than a cookbook

Wendy Erlanger at the 2018 Radiothon of Hope and Healing.

There’s nothing more comforting than a hearty bowl of soup when you aren’t feeling well.

Wendy Erlanger is a big believer in the healing power of soup – and community. Years ago, when five people very dear to her were diagnosed with cancer, Wendy pulled together a collection of healthy soup recipes to raise money for a soup cart for cancer patients at the hospital. Her community came together and raised about $18,000. It was an incredible way to get through a tough time, all while raising money for a cause close to her heart.

What Wendy thought was a one-time project soon became the answer to getting through another difficult time on the horizon:

In early February of 2018, Wendy’s dad, Earl, collapsed while on vacation. Medical staff quickly realized he would need surgery and were able to get him back to Winnipeg, where he was admitted at St. Boniface Hospital.

Wendy and her family found out what caused the collapse: her dad had blockages in his heart and needed 6 bypasses. He received surgery and was able to recover at home.

Just one month later, Wendy’s husband, Michael, became a bit of medical mystery: after a severe allergic reaction, he was diagnosed with a flutter in his heart and potential pneumonia. He left the Hospital with the same heart medication Wendy’s dad had just been put on.

After a series of tests, Michael was diagnosed with significant coronary blockage and a high risk of heart attack. They were warned that if his symptoms grew worse, he was to go straight to the hospital for treatment. During a leisurely Sunday evening walk, Michael grew extremely tired and they knew it was time to go to the emergency department.

Once at St. Boniface Hospital, things quickly escalated. Michael was admitted for an angiogram – the main artery in his heart was 99% blocked. He received triple bypass surgery. For Wendy, it was like déjà vu. Now, a year later, both Earl and Michael have recovered and are doing well.

“The care was just unbelievable,” said Wendy.

Everyone who cared for both my dad and husband was just incredible.

“They really do their best,” she said.

Wendy really had no intention of putting together another cookbook. But after some cosmic nudging, she knew she needed to do it again for the care both her dad and husband received at St. Boniface Hospital.

The project started in June 2018 – Wendy began gathering heart-healthy recipes and “More Than Soup With Heart” was born. Launched in November 2018, the cookbook is now available online and raises funds to support Heart Art, a part of the Art at the Bedside program, which is a volunteer-run craft program for heart patients and visitors at St. Boniface Hospital.

To purchase More Than Soup With Heart and support Heart Art at St. Boniface Hospital, visit