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Community rallies around Calgary police officer recovering from devastating illness

Friends of Const. Jason Bramham, pictured, are raising money to cover the cost of his prosthetic legs after a devastating illness resulted in multiple heart surgeries and double leg amputation.
Friends of Const. Jason Bramham, pictured, are raising money to cover the cost of his prosthetic legs after a devastating illness resulted in multiple heart surgeries and double leg amputation.

Jason Bramham spent three weeks in a medically induced coma, during which he underwent multiple open-heart surgeries and battled a failing liver and kidneys.

Doctors weren’t sure he would make it.

“I remember one of the doctors saying, ‘We’ll do what we can for you’ and then that was it,” said Bramham. “I woke up a few weeks later.”

He had contracted H1N9 influenza unknowingly sometime in February. What started as mild flu symptoms quickly developed into intense feelings of nausea and dizziness wreaking havoc on his body.

That’s when he was rushed to the hospital.

Bramham describes it as a “harrowing” experience — one that only continued when he woke up. Doctors were able to partially repair his heart but circulation to his lower limbs “pretty much stopped” when his body went into survival mode.

“I could see the tissue down there was going bad. It was turning a yellow colour,” said Bramham, who is an avid hiker and Calgary police officer for the past decade. “To wake up in this state was really the worst thing that could happen to me other than death.”

Doctors later performed a double leg amputation.

Despite the overwhelming circumstances, he’s pushing forward with an optimism and determination unmatched by many. He attributes this to the overwhelming support from family and friends.

“It’s basically telling myself I can be independent and I can get back to where I was. It’s going to take time and it’s going to be different,” said Bramham.

“But I’m hoping to be back hiking again and going up those mountains. So as long as I set my goal and my mindset is geared towards doing those things again, that’s how I can get through this.”

He’s currently undergoing physiotherapy and has just been given the green light to leave the hospital. The next step, he said, is rehabilitation.

The constable is also getting fitted for two prosthetic legs but they come at a high cost and aren’t fully covered by his benefits.

“For that price — I expect it to make me coffee in the morning,” Bramham joked.

His colleague and friend Const. Gavin Sather wanted to help, so he created an online fundraising campaign to offset the costs for “Brammy.”

On the campaign page, Sather talks about his friend’s “amazing determination and resilience” and how he was able to beat the odds, many times alone as COVID-19 restrictions limited his ability to see loved ones in the hospital.

“Brammy has given so much to his community and friends,” Sather wrote on the GoFundMe page. “(Let’s) return the favour.”

As of Saturday afternoon, the campaign was just a few thousand dollars shy of its $50,000 goal, with over 450 donors.

“It just goes to show you, in a situation like this, people can come together and they can actually make a difference,” said Bramham.

“I think that’s the best story right here.”

alsmith@postmedia.com

Twitter: @alanna_smithh

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020

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