Hero award recipient facing amputation overwhelmed by public support
Published Thursday, July 18, 2019 5:26PM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 18, 2019 7:06PM PDT
Julie Callaghan didn't know what to expect after sharing her struggles with a debilitating injury incurred while trying to save a man's life in Chilliwack last year.
Now, she is calling the public response and flood of support "overwhelming".
"It has been incredible," Callaghan told CTV News Vancouver.
"I feel a little more joy today. I feel a little more joy, and a little less focussed on the trauma."
In May 2018, Callaghan and another woman rushed to help 40 year-old Matthew Jarvis, whose wheelchair was stuck on train tracks in Chilliwack. They were not able to save him, and Callaghan's right hand was struck by the train in the process.
Just over a year later, she is looking at having some of the injured fingers amputated and getting a prosthetic.
A doctor and Vancouver clinic are covering all the related surgery costs, but Callaghan put out a call for help to cover the cost of the prosthetic device, which she said could be as high as $80,000.
Since her story aired Tuesday, thousands of dollars have now been donated to an online fundraiser towards that goal.
"It's mind-blowing and I'm appreciative," she said. "This fundraising has already given me a little more hope."
BC's Health Minister Adrian Dix also indicated Wednesday the province would be looking into her case.
"We'll have answers and engagement with the individual in the coming days," Dix said.
In an emailed statement, the health ministry said requests for prosthetics are submitted to PharmaCare for review.
"We are currently looking into whether an application has been made to PharmaCare on behalf of this patient," the email reads.
Callaghan's surgeon Dr. Rod French has told CTV News Vancouver they are still exploring what level of amputation and type of prosthetic would give her the best function.
In the meantime, Callaghan said her emotional and mental healing have taken a back seat to dealing with her physical injury.
"I can do a lot with two fingers but there's still a whole whack of things I can't do," Callaghan said.
She added she's also had offers of donated therapies and treatments aimed at helping her recover.
The Chilliwack resident, who has been recognized by the RCMP and has also received a Carnegie award for her actions, said she is looking forward to a time when she can leave behind some of the pain, and regain a large part of her life.
She is thankful for the people stepping forward to help, as she once did.
"Deep gratitude. Deep gratitude and thanks."