Lisa’s Story

As I lay face-up on the dock, looking up at the worried faces of my family and friends, I couldn’t help but wonder what was going to happen to me?

I am lucky to be alive—thanks to my family, friends, first responders, and the excellent care I received from the amazing doctors, nurses and staff who are part of Royal University Hospital’s Emergency and Trauma Team.

After personally experiencing a traumatic incident, I realized that at some point in our lives we will all need emergency or critical care. We don’t know when, we don’t know where. But you can help Royal University Hospital (RUH) prepare for their next trauma patient by making a donation, like I have, in support of the RUH Foundation’s Ready When You Aren’t Campaign.

My story begins on August 2nd, the beginning of a long weekend and a beautiful day at the lake with family and friends. I carefully kicked off from our boat dock and pushed the button to start our personal watercraft when it suddenly exploded, catapulting me twenty-five feet into the air.

My name is Lisa Sands. I am a daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, and I am the Chief Development Officer at the Royal University Hospital Foundation. In my role at the Foundation, I have the pleasure of meeting and talking to incredible people like you about how your gift to RUH Foundation will make a difference in the care provided to the over 60,000 patients and families who come to RUH for emergency and life-saving care each year. Royal University Hospital treats our province’s most severely
injured and ill patients. It’s where you go when there’s no time to waste. It’s where I found myself—one of the many hundreds of trauma patients treated at RUH each year.

I thought I fully understood the impact of trauma until it happened to me and my family. My husband, Mike, said I looked like a rag doll flying through the air—limp and lifeless. He didn’t expect to find me alive as he jumped in to the water to come to my aid. The impact of my accident
was far-reaching, beyond affecting only my physical and emotional wellbeing. For weeks afterward my husband, son and family members and friends who witnessed the accident had difficulty shaking the image of the explosion followed by my lifeless body in the air. Some found themselves waking up in the middle of the night only to discover this experience was not a dream.

The last thing I remember was the image of my finger about to push the start button. The impact of the explosion rendered me unconscious. I landed face-down in shallow water, and although the shoreline was rocky I somehow landed in sand. The water revived me and I regained consciousness as my niece pulled me out of the water and my husband and brother-in-law got me to our nearby dock. The sound of the blast reverberated across the lake, so many people called 911 that my sister- in -law couldn’t get through—all the lines were busy.

Fortunately, a RUH neurosurgery resident, who was in his boat on the lake, came immediately to assist when he heard the blast. Although it was impossible to know at the time that my spine’s L1 vertebra was fractured and my ankle was broken, he quickly determined that because I still had sensation in my fingers and toes; I wasn’t paralyzed.

I am writing you today as someone who wasn’t ready, but was extremely thankful that Royal University Hospital was, to please donate to the RUH Foundation’s Ready When You Aren’t Campaign. Your support will:

  • Fund the newest technology and equipment for trauma and emergency resuscitation and care;
  • Support fellowship funding over the next ten years for thirty Specialists to further train as Sub Specialists with renowned Trauma Experts and return to Saskatoon to treat and save the lives;
  • Support mental health programming for our Trauma and Medical Teams through Critical Incident Stress Management following critical incidents like the April 6, 2018 Bronco’s accident; and
  • Fund future life-saving trauma innovation through research.

Your donation will ensure that our trauma teams and hospital will have the latest in life-saving equipment, the newest technology, and the training opportunities required to be Ready When You Aren’t. As I write this letter, I cannot stress enough how important this is. With your help, Saskatchewan’s busiest Trauma Centre will stay ready, for you and your loved ones.

I am deeply grateful to all the wonderful doctors, nurses and staff who treated me during my twelve days of care at Royal University Hospital. Thanks to their excellent care and treatment I received I am now back at work, supported by ongoing rehabilitation, and am able to share my story with you.

Your gift, no matter the size, will save lives. Please join me in making a gift to Royal University Hospital Foundation and help ensure our trauma specialists and medical teams are Ready When You Aren’t.

Donate today.