Stroke halts cross-country tour

Plans to finish a 6,400-km trek across Canada have been put on hold after Brandon Harrison suffered a brain aneurysm that caused a massive stroke.

Plans to finish a 6,400-km trek across Canada have been put on hold after Brandon Harrison suffered a brain aneurysm that caused a massive stroke.

Harrison, from Calgary, and his father Michael Floyd started the cross-Canada longboard ride Long for Life in St. John’s, Nfld., on May 14. On Saturday, Day 115, they were in Red Deer when Harrison had to get off his board.

“We were on our cruise, hanging out at this one location and he just sat down and called me over a couple of minutes later,” said Floyd. “He could tell, he said ‘I can’t move my arm or my leg.’ It started to progress and it got pretty bad.”

An ambulance arrived quickly and Harrison was taken to Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

“They assessed him there and shipped him off to Calgary very quickly for the emergency,” said Floyd.

Floyd has been back and forth between Red Deer and Calgary ever since. Harrison has been unconscious since the incident and is in serious condition.

Floyd said his son has been intubated the entire time and not breathing on his own.

“It deteriorated to the point where they put him right under,” said Floyd.

This wasn’t Harrison’s first stroke. He had one when he was 15 when AV malformations, purposeless blood vessels, in his brain burst.

As a result, he had localized blindness in his left eye and impaired mobility in his left upper body. Through rehabilitation, he was able to recover his mobility.

He also had a mild stroke two years ago after a blood vessel burst. But he recovered and embarked on his summer-long longboard ride with his father.

“This is way more difficult, this is way worse than any of the previous,” said Floyd. “Even with the cancer, when he dealt with that, that was different. It’s not as on the surface as something like this.

“It is hard to watch, but we follow the same theories that we’re out there talking about. We trust in the outcome, it’s going to be a battle and it will be a long one, but he’ll win.”

Diagnosed with cancer at two-and-a-half years old, Harrison was given a 25 per cent chance to live. He had a fist-sized tumour on his spine but after extensive treatment, he was declared cancer-free.

He and his father embarked on the ride to raise both money and awareness for cancer and heart and stroke disease research.

The aneurysm leaves their plans to finish the trek on hold.

“We had a discussion along this trek that should anything happen, we didn’t think about what might happen, but we know what his vision is and what he wants to see is bigger than us,” said Floyd. “Long for Life continues. We’ll put it on hold, but we’ll rally the community and the riders and finish it for him.

“And when he’s ready, he’ll complete it too. Long for Life does not stop.”

In the past, once the swelling went down and the pressure subsided, Harrison’s lost vision and feeling in the left side of his body returned. Now Floyd and the Long for Life team have to wait for the swelling to subside to find out what has to happen next.

Harrison could bounce back and be ready to go in a few weeks, as was the case two years ago. Or it could take longer and physiotherapy may be required.

Harrison’s 20th birthday is today. The family and Long for Life organization hope people will rally behind Harrison and show their support by posting on Facebook or on the web at www.longforlife.ca.

mcrawford@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Erika Fetterly, owner of EFP Studios, recently launched the Let Them Have A Voice campaign. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta photographer’s campaign aims to give youths a voice

An Innisfail photographer is giving a platform to young central Albertans so… Continue reading

Chopped Canada-winning chef Pete Sok is trying to focus on the future as he reopens Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge in the Holiday Inn on Gasoline Alley during the pandemic. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer’s celebrity chef looks past the pandemic with new restaurant opportunity

Pete Sok is reopening Boulevard Restaurant — and betting on the future

The Red Deer Rebels hosted the Medicine Hat Tigers in the first game of the shortened 2020-21 season on Friday. The two teams faced off again in Medicine Hat Saturday (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Red Deer Rebels fall to Medicine Hat Tigers on Saturday

Tigers 7 Rebels 2 The Red Deer Rebels have lost two straight… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Premier slams vandalism after slur painted on MLA’s office window

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is condemning alleged vandalism at the… Continue reading

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Machin waits to appear at the Standing Committee on Finance on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on Tuesday, November 1, 2016. Executives who engage in so-called "vaccine tourism" show both an ethical disregard for those less fortunate and a surprising lack of business acumen, experts argue. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine tourism is both unethical and bad for business, experts say

Executives who engage in so-called “vaccine tourism” show both an ethical disregard… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers' Jesse Puljujarvi (13) and Toronto Maple Leafs' Justin Holl (3) battle in front as goalie Jack Campbell (36) makes the save during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, February 27, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
No Matthews, no problem: Minus NHL goal leader, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 4-0

Leafs 4 Oilers 0 EDMONTON — The Maple Leafs knew even with… Continue reading

Leader of the Government in the House of Commons Pablo Rodriguez rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Gummed-up bills in House of Commons: harbinger of a federal election?

OTTAWA — All federal party leaders maintain they don’t want an election… Continue reading

The Pornhub website is shown on a computer screen in Toronto on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Pornhub policies reveal legal gaps and lack of enforcement around exploitive videos

OTTAWA — Serena Fleites was in seventh grade when a sexually explicit… Continue reading

Sean Hoskin stands on a neighbourhood street in Halifax on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Hoskin was diagnosed with COVID-19 almost a year ago with symptoms that still persist. Some provinces have established programs to deal with long-term sufferers but Atlantic Canada, with relatively low numbers of patients, has yet to provide a resource to assist them. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
On East Coast, exhausted COVID-19 ‘long haulers’ hope specialized clinics will emerge

HALIFAX — On evenings when Sean Hoskin collapses into bed, heart pounding… Continue reading

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (30) stands in his crease as Calgary Flames left wing Andrew Mangiapane (88), left to right, defenceman Rasmus Andersson (4), Matthew Tkachuk (19), Mikael Backlund (11) and Mark Giordano (5) celebrate a goal during second period NHL action in Ottawa on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Calgary Flames beat Ottawa 6-3 to end Senators’ three-game win streak

Flames 6 Senators 3 OTTAWA — The Calgary Flames used a balanced… Continue reading

Crosses are displayed in memory of the elderly who died from COVID-19 at the Camilla Care Community facility during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on November 19, 2020. The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection is likely to be much higher than recorded because of death certificates don't always list the virus as the cause of a fatality, experts say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Death certificates don’t accurately reflect the toll of the pandemic, experts say

The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection… Continue reading

Most Read