Our colleague, and friend to many of us, Greg Hug had a terrible accident while swimming at a beach in Barbados in February 2016. Struck by a rogue wave, Greg was slammed onto the seabed, fracturing his neck in multiple places and sustaining a spinal cord injury level C2 complete, resulting in total paralysis below the neck.
For the next two and a half years, Greg fought back tooth and nail. He improved from being able to communicate only by blinking to speaking and using voice recognition software to coordinate his care, from being unable to breathe without the assistance of a ventilator to breathing with the assistance of a diaphragm pacemaker, and from being bed ridden to being relatively mobile using a specially designed chair he can control with his chin.
His recovery, however, has not been without its challenges. With his characteristic strength and the support of Maria, Greg is overcoming them – albeit perhaps not quite as fast as he would like! His determination and courage have been inspirational, and Greg’s health remains stable and good. Since leaving the ICU in July his excursions home in Stittsville have become more frequent and longer in duration. Hurdles remain, especially with the hiring of his personal care team and to prepare their house for a disabled occupant.
As Greg’s condition was improving, an informal grouping of friends began musing about how Greg’s friends might be able to provide some additional support to his ongoing efforts to leave the hospital. The Friends of Greg Group, or the FOGG was formed recently. The FOGG is currently stewarded by Steve Moffat supported by Mike Appleton, Bob Banks, Doug Dempster, Stephen Christensen and Jacques Michaud. Stephen is the treasurer.
After looking at a plethora of options the FOGG settled on an idea that could have an immediate impact on his quality of life – help get him a specialized vehicle no later than September 2019. The RMC class of ’74, including Greg, will join the Old Brigade in September 2019. Greg is determined to attend this most noteworthy event. Thus, the aim of the Mobile Greg Campaign is to raise $75,000 for the purchase of a customized Ford Transit XLT mid-roof Passenger Van with installed Ricon800 roadside lift and a travel kit. Greg and Maria have trialed this vehicle and it meets exactly their needs.
It was ascertained that CRA regulations do not permit the establishment of a charitable organisation for an individual, which would have been able to issue tax receipts to donors.
Thus, the FOGG opted to raise funds, which is the purpose of this missive – the launch of the Mobile Greg Campaign.
Purchasing such a vehicle will allow Greg and Maria to get around on their own time without relying on public para transportation. Most importantly, it would provide him and Maria with a degree of freedom of movement, of independence, that heretofore has been denied since Greg’s accident.
The ask is simple – if you can find it in your hearts to donate whatever you feel you can, (anonymous unless you ask to be public) please help with this effort to get Maria and Greg a vehicle of their own. Whatever you feel you can give is greatly appreciated.
“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us.”
Alexander Graham Bell
Greg and Maria have had a huge door close on them, but despite all that life has thrown at them, they have never stopped seeing the open door. Your donations to this campaign will be invaluable to them as they continue to explore this door, one leading to a world of activities of all kinds with family and friends who care so very much about them both.