Most of us have never gone through a near death experience. And though we may be grateful to be alive, people who have cheated death after a tragedy or illness, tend to hold a slightly higher affinity towards life.
June 14, 2005 Leslie Bridger almost died in a bicycle accident. Every year since, Leslie takes the time to celebrate this date, referring to the day as her re-birth day; Leslie's way of expressing gratitude for life.
This year, 2015, on the tenth anniversary of her accident, Leslie decided to rev-up the celebration. It would be more in-depth, more elaborate and ultimately more special. This year Leslie would throw a party, a Celebration of Life Extravaganza. The event would prove to be unique because of the people Leslie invited.
The accident that almost killed her, had left Leslie with a traumatic brain injury and severe damage to the left side of her body. At one point, her family was told Leslie would likely have to be looked after for the rest of her life; that she may never function in society again.
Once Leslie made it to the hospital , through the initial surgeries and touch and go moments of life or death, she then had to start over. Under the guidance of many healthcare professionals, Leslie re-learned how to walk, talk, cook, drive and even how to look after herself, go shopping and do banking; simple tasks most of us take for granted. It took focused determination and months of working with specialized therapists, but eventually Leslie made a remarkable recovery.
So it was here, from this pool of people, that Leslie developed the invitation list for her Celebration of Life Event. The physician who happened by moments after the accident to provide life saving first aid, the firefighter first on the scene, the paramedics who accompanied her to the hospital, the neurosurgeon, the nurses, doctors, therapists and others that administered care. And of course, her family and friends. Because Leslie was living in Ontario and her family was in Newfoundland and Labrador, the first people at the hospital were close friends. Friends that formed a web of support, bathing Leslie in love and healing energy as she moved through the long dark night of recovery.
It is all of these people. People who cared. People who showed up. People who answered the call. They are the reason Leslie is still here. Not just alive and kicking, not just surviving but thriving.
So on June 14, 2015, Leslie officially and publically celebrated and honored the many unsung heroes who contributed to her recovery and helped give her, her life back.
The following video was shown at the Celebration of Life Event. It is part one in a series of videos that will follow this journey of gratitude. It is the story of the accident told by the actual people who were there, that responded to the humanity of a tragedy. The people who felt they were just doing their job, when in fact they were saving a life.