Paying It Forward

Paying It Forward

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The Blackwood family are banning together to help the anchor of the family, Jim Blackwood

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Brittany Blackwood of Bell Island wants nothing more than to see her grandfather make another batch of delicious homemade bread. Kneading dough is something Jim Blackwood has been doing for years. However, things have changed drastically for the 81-year-old from Glovertown, who recently had his leg amputated.

Always a Caregiver

At the time of this phone interview this past summer with Brittany, Jim was a patient at the hospital in Gander recovering from the amputation. “Pop is in the hospital now and he’s saying ‘I wonder what it’s going to be like to make homemade bread in a wheelchair?’ because that’s what he loves to do,” Brittany said. 

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Brittany said her pop was always the caregiver. He looked after his wife Pearl Blackwood. Pearl is 80, and has had numerous health issues over the past three decades, Brittany said. 

“It’s very hard for my Nan to get around so Pop was always the one to look after her. And now it’s the other way around,” she shared, explaining that the amputation was a result of poor circulation. “Pop went to the hospital the beginning of June. He’s been there ever since. And about two weeks after (his admission) his leg was amputated below the knee. It was all just so quick for him. You couldn’t prepare yourself for that.”

Jim and Pearl have three sons who are taking turns being with their parents.

“Somebody has to be there to bring Nan to the hospital every day,” Brittany said. During a phone interview in July, Brittany’s brother Jordan Blackwood said his grandfather had been in the hospital for 40 days. 

His grandmother has never missed a day without visiting her husband, he said, and she depends on one of her sons to drive her from their home in Glovertown to Gander Jordan, who lives on Bell Island, had recently returned from a visit to Gander hospital to visit his grandfather.

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At the time, he said, his grandfather was battling an infection in the area where his leg was amputated.

With all he is going through, Jordan said, his grandfather remains a courageous man who puts others before himself. “Pop is more worried about his family than his own personal health. Nan is not that well herself and he is really worried about her,” Jordan said.

While his grandfather is staying positive about his disability, Brittany shared that the family worries where they will come up with the money to buy him a wheelchair and prosthetic leg to give him the mobility he needs and deserves. Brittany said the cost of a prosthetic leg runs between $5,000-10,000.

‘We Need to Help Him…’

“Then he needs to get a wheelchair fitted for him, and renovations to their home.” Brittany and Jordan are fundraising for their grandparents. Brittany has set up a Go Fund Me Page (https://www.gofundme.com/help-pop-walk-again). 

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“It’s already hard enough for Nan and Pop to be dealing with (the amputation). We don’t want them to have this financial burden. Pop is a kind-hearted man. He’s always donated to charities and we just feel that we need to help him out,” Brittany said.  

She shared that she’s already had messages from people in Glovertown who want to help her grandparents. Her grandfather’s life will be changed because of the amputation, she said, as his favourite activities will be limited. 

“Pop was always outdoors, cutting up wood, planting vegetables, walking around. He might sit down to have a game of TV bingo or a game of cards but that’s about it,” she laughed.

“And he loves playing with the kids. He gets on the floor with them. He is just great with them.”

While her grandfather enjoys playing with his great-grandchildren, Brittany said he’s also been there for her throughout her life. He means the world to her – and more – she said. 

“When Pop comes here he brings five or six loaves of homemade bread for me and my brother and my mom. He really enjoys making it. He would do anything for anybody, even if he didn’t know them… He’s just a sweet man all over.”

Pay it Forward 

By July 23, Brittany and Jordan had raised over $1,000 for their grandfather. Jordan said his grandfather – who loves, trouting, hunting and cooking, is well deserving of the help.

“Pop was one of the most supportive men in my life… He was the leader, the one out working to support his family. Nan was home taking care of her children. 

“Pop is the one who sits at the head of the table. He’s done a lot for everyone. We want to pay it forward now and do what we can for him.” 

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