Going the extra mile for patients

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 Barbara. “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 - Kingston General Hospital (KGH) site 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,” explains Barbara. “I am extremely lucky it wasn’t any worse.”

After numerous CT scans and x-rays, Barbara was told she needed surgery and advised to stay off her feet for a few weeks. While this would be distressing news for anyone, Barbara was particularly upset because she had recently registered for Life Cycle, a fundraising event for the Kingston hospitals. In fact, Barbara was among the top three fundraisers and had already collected more than $1,000 in pledges from her friends and family.

Fortunately for Barbara, fellow cyclist Dr. Damon Dagnone was the team lead in the Emergency Department when she arrived. When he heard Barbara’s 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 Barbara. “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.


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