Dick Hunt's Blog

November 25, 2012

Bicycles, Motorcycles and Skis.

Filed under: Current — Tags: , — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 8:39 pm

Bicycles, Motorcycles and Skis.
by Dick Hunt, November 25th, 2012.

Our son Tim amazed people who saw him do his normal things on Bicycles, Motorcycles and Skis. Not that mastering those sports and transportation items are unusual for the very large number of people who use them But Tim had his right leg amputated at the hip socket, when he was 16 days of age. He was born with bone cancer in his thigh and the only way they could stop the aggressive growth was to amputate. The surgery took three hours, from 8 to 11 AM in the Hospital where he was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. His case was the only one of the kind then recorded worldwide as far as widespread research was able to determine. The Surgeon was on his own in knowing how to proceed. He received a Scholarship to Harvard Medical School for his successful work with Tim. He was a wonderful, loving, man, humble and he was Jewish. We were so grateful to him. I asked him how Tim was able to be able to breast feed at four PM the same day. He said it was because a baby has no sense of imagination and therefore little shock damage. Later, he got Staff Infection in the wound, spread through the Air Conditioning system, and was hospitalized for an additional two months. I drove Ruth to the Hospital every four hours night and day so she could breast feed him. The Doctor credited his great progress in healing to that factor, the tender cuddling which inspired confidence and trust. The staff was marvelous. So were our neighbours in our community six blocks south. They took turns Baby Sitting our other three children and were of several races and religions. We were so fond of them and so grateful for their tender, cheerful care. Surely, shared needs bring out the very best in People.

As he grew older and achieved greater strength he began to be fitted with simple Prosthetic devices, fitted by the Lions Club and then by The Amputees Association. Then he learned to ride a Bike by using a device on the right prosthetic foot to hold it on the pedal. The same trick was to enable him to ride motorbikes. The freedom to do so led him to draw the attention of the Police who occasionally had to pull him over for breaking the speed laws. It made him feel so free to be able to transport himself with wheels. I know now how he felt, having been barred from driving a car.

Then he took to skiing. All our children were provided with Piano lessons and none of them were happy about practicing. So we decided to sell the piano and buy skis and equipment for us all. There was a basic ski hill and lifts and runs not far up the highway from our home in William’s Lake. Tim used ski tipped poles and of course single skis on the slopes and in a short time was skiing the longest slopes with great eagerness. He was a great example to those who were having trouble mastering the sport with two legs, when this one legged skier swished past them with such joy. All the rest of our family took little interest in continuing to ski, beyond trail skiing. Tim skied competively, winning many cups in the amputee competitions in North America and also performing very well with the Olympics teams in Yugoslavia, Austria and other areas. He is now 56 and still does a little skiing to keep his hand in. He has volunteered as a coach with Amputees with a fellowship called “Hang Five”. Alongside, he is a Journeyman Cabinetmaker and has always done his best to be a very good workman, even to the extent of being a perfectionist. We are proud of our two sons, (the eldest is a Journeyman Carpenter too. And a perfectionist.

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