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A life-saving experience motivates impressive fundraising effort

When primary care paramedic Jamie MacPherson decided to volunteer with the Cops for Cancer Tour de Coast last year, she had no idea that on her first day, she would help save a rider’s life and cement her ever-lasting commitment to the charity event.
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​A primary care paramedic living and working in 100 Mile House, Jamie decided to volunteer as support crew for the Tour de Coast, just as a spot unexpectedly opened up.

What happened next was a life-changing experience. 

“I wasn’t really sure what to expect,” she said. “But when something happens like what happened that first day, you are bonded for life.” 

On September 16th last year, Cops for Cancer rider and West Vancouver Police officer Jeff Palmer suffered the first of at least four sudden cardiac arrests just hours into the nine-day ride. MacPherson and her partner Jazzi Griffiths arrived at Palmer’s side immediately and within seconds were providing CPR and defibrillating the patient. 

“I’ve been a paramedic for about five years and that was the first time I had ever witnessed a cardiac arrest. It was the first time I’ve helped revive a patient. It was something I’ll never forget,” MacPherson said. “When something like that happens, you don’t really have time to think. Your training automatically kicks in.” 

BCEHS paramedics then rushed Palmer to Royal Columbian Hospital, where he had two stents implanted that day, followed by three more stents a few days later – emergency procedures that saved his life. 

Last week, Palmer reunited with Jamie and Jazzi, as well as the doctors and nurses who helped save his life exactly one year ago, at an event sponsored by the Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation. 
“It’s absolutely amazing to see Jeff’s recovery,” MacPherson said. “And to get a hug from someone you helped revive? That feeling is indescribable!” 
This year, Jamie is riding in the Tour de Coast and she is the top fundraiser, having raised over $18,000 for the cause.  

 “I love emergency services and am very community-minded,” she said. “After everything that happened last year, this is like my family. I can’t imagine not being a part of this again.” 

This year’s Cops for Cancer Tour de Coast runs from September 21-29, 2016.​
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