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Comfort. Care. Hope.


Meet Chuck!

Posted Nov 23rd, 2023 in News

Preparing for major heart surgery was plenty of stress for Chuck Blair, but what he didn’t expect was coming home 6 months later with no legs.   

It all started in February 2022 when Chuck was given a blood thinner during open heart surgery that actually caused his blood to clot. This devastating drug reaction, a condition called Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT), triggered many severe blood clots in his legs, lungs and brain resulting in Chuck being in a coma for two months.

“They tried to save my legs with multiple surgeries, but the clots were too severe,” Chuck says. “This was the last resort to save my life.” With his wife, Nancy, by his side Chuck fought with everything he had to not give up. 

Chuck lost his legs at the knee a few weeks later and would begin a year and a half long journey to restore his health and rebuild his life.

“I don’t think they expected me to walk again.”

When Chuck arrived at Hotel Dieu Shaver (HDS) in June 2022 he felt like a shell of a man - he had lost over 100 pounds including most of his muscle mass, he had little strength and virtually no independence.

It didn’t take long for things to change though, as Chuck’s physiotherapy team got him working hard on a program to strengthen his body and improve his endurance.

“I was so happy to be in such a positive and uplifting place.  I knew hard work was ahead of me, but I was in the best hands. My incredible team personalized my therapy sessions to keep me motivated.”

Over the next six weeks, Chuck participated in every therapy HDS had to offer, including building his upper body strength and teaching him how to transfer from his bed to wheelchair. His goal was to prepare his legs for prosthetics, a process that began in the fall of 2022. 

Chuck continued with outpatient therapy at HDS where he worked with his preparatory prosthesis to gain balance and learn to walk again with assistance.  Using equipment, like the parallel bars, was essential to his therapy in helping him increase the amount of time he could stand on his legs and walk short distances. 

“If I had gone anywhere except Hotel Dieu Shaver, I would not be doing what I’m doing today,” says Chuck.  “I was lucky to have a strong support system - my incredible wife, Nancy, my family, friends and faith.  I leaned on my team, including the staff at HDS, to keep me motivated and I’m so grateful.”

Today Chuck continues to receive outpatient therapy at Hotel Dieu Shaver as he works with his prosthetic legs to regain his range of motion.  He has modified his work and home, and is happy to be driving his car once again. 

This past September, Chuck and his many supporters participated in HDS Foundation’s fundraising event, Hope in Motion, where he walked 400 metres on the track at Canada Games Park – a challenge he didn’t think he could meet the year before.

“I’m doing well, and I expect to continue to do well to the point where one day I can walk around normally like I did before.”

Chuck is just one of the hundreds of patients who have received personalized care and rehabilitation at Hotel Dieu Shaver this past year.  Many who have had to rebuild their lives after a life-changing event, devastating disease or challenging injury.

If you would like to support patients like Chuck, please consider a donation to the 2023 Snowflakes & Angels Christmas Campaign. Funds raised will purchase patient care beds and speciality mattresses for Hotel Dieu Shaver. With the average hospital stay being 22 days for the High Intensity Rehab Program and 61 days for Short-Term Complex Medical Management, it is vital that patients at HDS have the most comfortable and safest bed available.

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Rebuilding Lives, Renewing Hope

Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Foundation raises and manages funds for patient-care equipment, education, specialty programs, and improvements to treatment areas to support exemplary patient care at Hotel Dieu Shaver, Niagara’s Only rehabilitation and complex care hospital.

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