len's masthead




londoner editor pic





For the past couple of months I have seen Tom make his way to the downtown Y supported by his walker. Last week he appeared with only one cane.

Here is his amazing story of courage and determination when faced with life’s adversity. Tom had promised his wife that he would never ever be involved in racing. He never had owned a bike.

On July 23 he went to Mossport International Raceway for some practice runs. He was going down the straightway at 180k when he was struck from behind by another cyclist going 250k.

His first thought was of death: no one could survive the trauma of such a high speed accident. When Tom discovered to his utter amazement that he had lived his first thought was to try & breath.

Emergency staff rushed to the scene and an ambulance was soon on site transporting him to the hospital in Bowmanville. The emergency staff at the hospital quickly discerned that a trauma center was needed.

Tom was evacuated by helicopter to Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. He was met with a team of care givers including Orthopedic/Internal Medicine/Radiological Specialists along with supporting nurses.

The medical staff’s daunting challenge was how they were going to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Here was the diagnosis. Eight cracked ribs, fractured sternum, punctured lung, spine fragmented into two places, pelvis smashed, broken ankle and torn ligaments in his knee.

Twelve hours of surgery was successfully performed. Around the clock duty nurses/ doctors, who are dedicated members of the Critical Care Unit, monitored his progress.

Tom remained at Sunnybrook for two weeks before being transferred to Parkwood Hospital in London for rehab
The staff of Parkwood is made up of a community of very strong committed encouraging nursing staff. Positive reinforcement & consistent care is provided to all in need.
Doctors, nurses, occupational/physical therapists all worked diligently as a team to assess and provide a healing atmosphere.

Tom learned very quickly that Parkwood Hospital is an accepting community of health care providers who accept you as you are.

Patients are encouraged to work as hard as they can with an emphasis on self actualizing their strengths while acknowledging their limitations. The staff teach the patients that they can reach the next level if they but persevere.

Mix in lots of time/patience and a sense of humor necessary for mending.. Once you have come to grips with your problem then the emotional component can be positive.
Family and friends are all part and parcel of the healing process. Tom’s wife spent weeks at his side; she was his rock. Two teenage awesome sons picked up the slack at home.
The hospital recuperation calendar was supposed to take four months. Tom was discharged after two.

Tom turned fifty last week with a party to say thanks. The time in the hospital gave him time to question. Why he survived? What is his destiny? How he going to make a difference to his family and community?

He may never be his old self again? He will keep trying and use what he has and be grateful.

Tom has learned to love life. No regrets.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com