Going the extra mile for patients

News / Fund Raising / Patient & family Centred Care
By Maclaine Chadwick - UHKF

Doctor volunteers to help patient complete fundraising ride

It’s not unusual for 83-year old Barbara Pusch to venture out on a long bike ride –it’s actually her goal to ride at least 10,000 kilometres each year. Unfortunately, Barbara’s cycling season was cut short two weeks ago when she was hit by a vehicle while crossing County Road 38.

“It could have been an atomic bomb that hit me,” says Pusch. “It happened so fast – all I knew was that I was hit.”

Barbara was taken by ambulance to the Emergency Department at Kingston Health Sciences Centre’s (KHSC) Kingston General Hospital site (KGH) with a broken hand, cracked vertebrae, fractured rib, and a severely bruised hip.

“As a cyclist you naturally try to avoid situations like this. I have been riding for 15 years without an accident, but sometimes they happen,” says Pusch. “I am extremely lucky it wasn’t any worse.”

After a number of CT scans and X-Rays, Pusch was told she needed surgery and advised to stay off her feet for a few weeks.

While this would be distressing news for anyone, she says she was particularly upset because she had recently registered for Life Cycle, a fundraising event for the Kingston hospitals. In fact, Pusch was among the top three fundraisers and had already collected over $1,000 in pledges from her friends and family.

Fortunately for Pusch, fellow cyclist Dr. Damon Dagnone was the team lead in the Emergency Department when she arrived. When he heard her story, he offered to take her place in the ride.

 “Sometimes, we can’t make something physically better right away,” says Dr. Dagnone. “I saw this as a meaningful way that I can help make her feel better. She’s a remarkable person, and I wanted to do something remarkable for her.”

“When he told me he would ride for me, I felt like I would rise off the bed with joy,” says Pusch. “It was just the boost I needed to feel better right away.”

The event is a great fit for Dr. Dagnone, who admits he doesn’t have much time to get out on his bike these days. Not only is the 100km route on Wolfe Island appealing for the trauma physician, but the proceeds raised from the event will support the redevelopment of the Kingston hospitals, including the construction of a new emergency department.

Pusch is currently recovering from her injuries and although she’s disappointed that she can’t ride in the Life Cycle event, she has promised to continue fundraising and is excited about her partnership with Dr. Dagnone.

“He’s marvelous – all of the doctors I’ve had are marvelous. It makes me even happier to give back.”

To support Pusch and Dr. Dagnone, visit http://uhkf.kintera.org/lifecycle