Margaret Harvey loves riding her bike through the streets of Toronto.
Back in 2012, she was riding to work and stopped at a busy intersection in the downtown core. A garbage truck turned in-front of her, knocked her to the ground and ran her over with its back wheels.
Margaret invited me to her home to learn more about that horrible day.
"I was conscious during the collision," she said from the comfort of her living room sofa in Toronto's leafy Riverdale neighbourhood. "The first thing I did was wiggle my toes to make sure I wasn't paralyzed."
She was bleeding to death and rushed to the hospital where she underwent the first of 38 blood transfusions. Margaret was also intubated and suffered a fractured pelvis, lacerations to her groin and severe internal bleeding.
Three weeks at St. Michael's Hospital in the city's downtown core, and four months of rehabilitation therapy, she returned to work only a short time after. Even without her full mobility, she thought that she was mentally and physically ready.
In reality, “I set myself up for failure.”
She went on a medical leave and suffered with depression.
“I felt very alone and frightened.”
She learned about a support group for trauma victims in the United States at The American Trauma Society partnered with John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.
Something like this did not exist in Toronto and she was determined to create it, so she approached St. Michael’s Hospital about starting a trauma support group.
One year later, along with the help of the hospital’s team of experts including social workers, psychiatrists and therapists, Margaret was able to launch the first Canadian Trauma Survivors' Network. It is called My BeST which stands for Beyond Surviving To Thriving.
My BeST provides support to patients, along with their families and caregivers, who have experienced any type of trauma-related injury including: car crash, gun shot wounds, vehicle accidents and work-related injury.
The group meets monthly and has open discussions as well as presentations from experts on a variety of topics including: pain and sleep management and advocacy.
“It has been so rewarding to make so many friends with the same experience as me,” said Margaret. "It has given me so much confidence."
Five years after her accident, Margaret purchased a new pink bike. She rode it home, taking the side streets. And now, at times, she'll even ride it all the way to St. Michael's Hospital.
Email My BeST for more information at: firstname.lastname@example.org