In Good Hands

Back on the road and grateful for the arm-saving care at the Roth | McFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Centre (HULC), avid cyclist and former ironman Louis Martin is giving back
Louis Martin, 70, enjoys riding his bike as part of his exercise routine to stay active in retirement.

“I went down face first, denting my helmet. It felt like I fell into a cheese grater. My right arm was extended and I bounced off the deck and hit hard on my right side.”

– Louis Martin

It was a moment Louis Martin will never forget.

While cycling in Elgin County on a downhill descent, he fell on an iron bridge, slick from morning condensation. 

Louis’s right arm was crushed. His sunglasses shattered in his face. He broke his jaw and eye socket and suffered several cuts on his face requiring 100 stitches. 

He was rushed to the hospital and after surgery, he went home to recover – but his nightmare didn’t end.

Without the use of his right arm and hand and a broken jaw, he was unable to do simple day-to-day tasks like eating solid foods and bathing. After some setbacks including an infection in his arm, he was referred to St. Joseph’s Roth I McFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Centre (HULC).

He was traumatized, as was his wife Maureen, as the future use of his right arm looked uncertain.

At the time of his accident, Louis had just retired from a 30 year career as a Canadian Tire Dealer/Owner.

As a successful business owner, Louis is goals-driven.

When he turned 50, he re-evaluated his life making his health a priority. He started walking and running and lost 50 pounds. 

Motivated by his newfound health, he turned his sights on 10 km races, half marathons, triathlons, and Ironman races. He completed a full ironman, which included a 4 km swim, 180 km bike ride and a 42 km run all on the same day in 2008 - when he turned 56.

Although his Ironman days are behind him, he still loves to run and cycle. He is grateful for the care he received at HULC.

“Thanks to Dr. King’s leadership, his surgical skills, the entire HULC team and post-operative health care, they were able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again,” he jokes.

He references the children’s nursery rhyme because his cycling accident wasn’t his only mishap.

“I recall Dr. King advising me after my cycling accident to go easy and whatever I do, don’t fall.”

Eight months after his cycling accident, Louis slipped and fell on black ice in a parking lot and broke his right arm again.

Louis underwent surgery again and this time Dr. Graham King installed a surgical implant on his right ulna (the long bone in the forearm), and replaced the radial head, a bone below the elbow.

It took Louis two years after his last surgery to get back on his bike – but his passion for the sport and his hard work finally paid off.  Although he has healed physically, the effects of the accident still linger. He admits he’s more cautious and still cannot cross iron bridges.

During the past 10 months, he has been slowly increasing his riding distance and to date has recorded 3,600 km on his road bike.

And each time, he leaves home on his bike, Maureen sees him off and anxiously waits for his return. Thanks to technology, she is able to track his route, speed, and heart rate at all times.

Grateful for his second chance to ride again, Louis and Maureen are supporting HULC with an annual donation. 

“I never thought I would be able to do long distances again,” he says.

But thanks to the world-class care at HULC, he is back to living the life he loves.

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