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Local Donations Give Access to Critical Care at Critical Times

"It was like a wildfire,"

When scary symptoms start to spread, access to quality local care is critical.


Carey Bock, affectionately known to his friends and family as ‘Bear’, started noticing something wasn’t quite right in June of 2019.


An appointment with the family doctor turned into a visit to a specialist, then a referral to Southern Ontario. Dozens of doctors worked to figure out what might be wrong with the athletic 44-year-old as his condition quickly deteriorated. By November, Bear could no longer walk.


The diagnosis was ALS – also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease; and the version Bear had was progressing rapidly. By January, a choking episode landed him in hospital where his medical team recommended a tracheotomy (a surgically created opening on the neck). For Bear’s father, Frank, this was “the beginning of the end”.


Throughout Bear’s journey, Frank stayed by his side providing care as best he could. First, at home – buying a lift, an electric wheelchair and other tools that would help Bear’s quality of life. Frank did as much as he could, but it quickly got overwhelming. Eventually, Bear needed a level of care that Frank alone couldn’t provide. Bear had to be admitted to Sault Area Hospital.


From day one, the care they received made a big impression on Frank. “Everyone at the hospital was so helpful,” he said. Social Worker Kathleen O’Brien helped Frank get through mountains of paperwork. The ICU team trained Frank how to feed, bathe and care for Bear. The housekeeping staff always made sure there was a chair for Frank to sit in. They all helped Frank be there for Bear. “They made a bad experience good.”


In spring of 2020, Bear passed away– less than a year after the onset of his first symptoms.


Frank could help his son, because local donations helped our hospital.


Local donations provided the equipment that helped make Bear’s care outstanding. Something as simple as a specialized hospital bed made a huge difference: when Bear could no longer turn his head, Frank could press a button on that bed to rotate Bear, so they could look at each other while they visited (even though Bear could no longer speak). Donor's gifts gave them that.


Before Bear passed, he started a list for Frank – of things he wanted his father to do once he was gone. He had Frank mail his NCAA championship ring to an old teammate, give his new golf clubs to a childhood friend, and make a donation back to Sault Area Hospital.


Not only will their gift acknowledge the incredible care they got – it will ensure future patients get the same outstanding experience.


 

Donations help patients and their families during their most difficult times.




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