Fall 2016

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Claudette Carracedo FALL 2016 BCA A .COM 23 DESTINATIONS Quick-acting emergency personnel saved Jim Graham's life in Point Roberts. Travel medical insurance took care of the rest BY ROBIN SCHROFFEL Miracle Walking Jim and Barbara Graham pose with a promotional poster for Barbara's book about Jim's health ordeal in the US. J im Graham remembers little about June 7, 2015. But that day changed the course of his life and is forever seared into the memories of many: his cycling buddy Andy, a quick-acting American border guard, the volunteers of Whatcom County Fire District 5, his wife, Barbara, and his two daughters. That sunny Sunday at 10:17 a.m., Jim cycled over the border into Point Roberts, Washington, while training for the 2015 Ride to Conquer Cancer. Just a few metres into the United States, the active 66-year-old from West Vancouver dropped from his bicycle, suffering the first in a succession of cardiac arrests. In the face of tragedy, the stars aligned. A border guard jumped into action and began CPR within one minute. The local volunteer fire department, gathered for training six minutes away, came to his aid and assisted. A rescue helicopter arrived within 20 minutes. Paramedics managed to sustain Jim long enough to execute an airlift, despite the heart attacks, which kept coming. During the flight to the hospital, he clung to life through yet another cardiac arrest, before landing at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham – where he underwent surgery. He was placed on full life support for five days, and not expected to survive. "We were told the outcome was grim," Barbara recalls. But despite the poor initial prognosis, Jim did survive the ordeal. He was later transported to Vancouver General Hospital, where he remained for three weeks.

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