A Red Deer woman is experiencing a tremendous wave of community support following a horrendous injury last month.
Brenda Schultz, an educational assistant at Grandview School in Red Deer and single mother of two boys, was out for a run in early September, making her way through Kin Kanyon in the early evening. Little did she know that just hours later, she would experience severe injuries leaving her unable to walk. She had been visiting a friend in the country. It was dark out, and she fell off their deck 15 ft. and shattered her spine in four places and damaged her spinal cord.
The next thing she knew, she was in the hospital. Surgery at the University of Alberta was followed by a short stay in Red Deer before being transported to the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary for lengthy and extensive rounds of rehabilitation.
“I don’t know how to describe it,” explains Schultz of how excruciating the pain was. The injuries left her reeling not just physically but emotionally and mentally as well.
The future is virtually impossible to map out in any defined way as well. Fortunately, Schultz’s spinal cord wasn’t severed but she is in a wheel chair. As far as she knows, she will be at the Foothills Medical Centre until Christmas. It of course puts a strain on her as her boys, ages 11 and 13, are of course staying with family in Red Deer.
From her hips to her knees there has been significant progress, she said, noting that most of the feeling has returned in that area. There is some sensation from her knees to her ankles but she can’t feel her feet. She said no one knows for sure when she will regain full use of her legs.
“It’s hard to comprehend. Everyday there are a battle of ‘what ifs’ in my mind,” she explains. “It’s about time and having patience now.”
Rehabilitation is clearly a challenge, but Schultz is up for the fight to get better.
“I knew it would be hard, and I’ve heard stories, so I wasn’t completely sure what to expect. There’s sweating and crying, but it’s also about finding that strength inside of you.
“Everything takes longer. Everything is harder.”
A benefit night is being planned for Oct. 21 from 6:30 to 11 p.m at Bo’s Bar & Grill. Tickets are $10 per person, and there will also be 50/50 tickets sold and a silent auction.
All proceeds will go into an ATB Financial Trust called ‘Brenda Schultz in Trust’ to help cover costs for her and her children. As organizers point out, she will also be away from work for an unknown period of time and will need specific medical care and equipment for the foreseeable future.
Schultz’s sister, Deborah Tetley, said her sister has always been a positive person with an incredible outlook on life. She has always relished adventure and been active as well. So being immobilized like this is of course that much harder.
“It’s heartbreaking,” she said, but pointed out that especially over the past couple of weeks that her sister has really turned a corner in terms of being more determined to get better.
“I couldn’t be more proud.”
Tetley added that the help and support from others has been touching. Within hours of Schultz being in hospital in Edmonton, people were already dropping off gift cards to help with various expenses from food to gas.
Days later, plans were also taking shape for the Red Deer benefit, she said. It’s been extremely encouraging. “We are just so full of hope.”
Meanwhile, Schultz is also overwhelmed by the support from friends, family and the community at large.
“How do you thank people for all of their help? I am speechless and overwhelmed with emotion. I feel like there is an army of friends and family helping me.”
Those interested in buying tickets for the event or donating a silent auction item can call 403-314-0084, 403-341-6461, 403-343-0335 or 403-343-2008.
For more information, there is also a facebook page entitled ‘Brenda Schultz Support.’