Three months after she was hit by a dump truck, White Rock resident Peggy White has returned to work full-time.
She still needs physiotherapy, three 90-minute sessions a week, and she faces more tests and scans, but she no longer needs the stroller, walker, crutches and cane she was forced to rely on at different stages of her recovery.
She says she is “more than lucky” to have survived the July 14 collision that broke 11 bones, including fractures to her pelvis, sacrum, two vertebrae and two ribs.
The active 52-year-old spent two weeks in Royal Columbian Hospital after she was knocked off her bike by a tandem dump truck while riding along 16 Avenue near 180 Street.
She doesn’t remember being hit, only coming to in a water-filled ditch with two Good Samaritans who came to her rescue.
“I feel privileged to be here,” White told Peace Arch News last week.
White said the aftermath of the accident, especially the unexpected outpouring of support and sympathy, has been a life-changing experience for her.
Her family and friends rallied to her support, with older sisters Marion Howard and Dorothy Howard moving in to help during the initial weeks of healing.
When she was able to start going outdoors, people would recognize White from her photo in the Peace Arch News and ask her how she was doing.
The firefighters who got her out of the ditch and the police officers investigating the hit-and-run would check in with her, just to make sure he was OK.
Staff and business owners at the shopping centre put together a humorous get-well video to cheer her up.
And daughter Careen and her newborn granddaughter were regular visitors.
“It’s almost overwhelming,” White said.
She has begun meditating and often writes out a gratitude list.
“I take a moment every day to be grateful,” said White.
There were moments, she admits, when her normally optimistic temperament frayed under the frustration of being sidelined during an especially nice summer.
Even more frustrating was being unable to work.
As general manager of Guildford Town Centre in Surrey, White was working on a $280-million expansion and redevelopment that will make it the largest regional shopping centre south of the Fraser River, at 1.2 million square feet.
“I love my job,” White said.
She is thankful the people at the shopping centre did such a good job of handling the complicated project while she was recovering.
“I have a fabulous team,” White says.
“A really good team.”
One unexpected effect of the near-tragedy has been improved posture, White said.
Her physio has been on her case about keeping her injured back straight and it’s become habitual.
On Thanksgiving day, White invited one of her rescuers, Peninsula resident Norm Nagel, and his wife and two small children for dinner (Her other Good Samaritan, Randy Duncan, who lives in Victoria, could not attend).
“That’s the lady who jumped in the ditch,” one of the children said.
White is planning to buy a new bicycle to replace the one that was destroyed in the hit-and-run.
The search for the truck driver continues.
Police have told White they are confident it is simply a matter if time before they find the person responsible.
Anyone with information that could help police locate the truck and driver is asked to contact Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502.