CALGARY – Const. Jason Bramham has been with the Calgary Police Service for nine years and was on duty until February when he was hospitalized with a serious infection.
As a result, both of his legs were amputated.
“I keep saying I can’t describe it, it was like the worst feeling in my life,” said Bramham from the hospital.
Bramham collapsed his home in February and doctors discovered he had contracted a strain of H1N9.
“The last thing I remember was when a doctor said to me, ‘You are in good hands, we will do what we can for you.'”
He was in a medically induced coma for about two weeks and underwent multiple open heart surgeries. He lost his legs to poor blood flow, and his heart was beating harder to stay alive.
He was put on the heart and kidney transplant list but did not need any new organs due to his recovery.
“The biggest challenge, to be honest, is the mental one,” said Bramham. “It’s very difficult for me when my body is basically broken.”
Bramham, 42, is an avid hiker and was part of a Patrol Response Team (PRT) for the Calgary Police Service.
“On my days off, I would be somewhere in Kananaskis to explore a mountain and get to the peaks,” he said.
After both legs were amputated, friends gathered to raise money so Bramham could secure a prosthetic right leg.
“We honestly didn’t know if he would survive,” said colleague and friend Gavin Sather, who launched a GoFundMe campaign for Bramham.
The campaign was a huge success, covering the cost of his prosthetic leg of $ 50,000 in just over two weeks.
Bramham says he has no words to describe the community support.
“It’s also getting support from people like my friends, family, and even complete strangers,” he said.
Sather says he doesn’t want his friend crippled with debt while he tries to leave.
“It’s inspiring to see someone who has been through as much as they have and who wants to have their normal life back,” said Sather.
Bramham says he hopes to be back in the service, albeit in a different capacity.
He says he will be fitted out for a full denture for his right leg since it was amputated above the knee.
His left leg was amputated below the knee, something he still has not come to terms with.
“That part is still difficult for me to accept,” he said.
Bramham says he plans to continue his rehabilitation and hopes to be back on a mountain soon.