David Brooks

For David Brooks, running isn’t a hobby, it is a part of his identity.

In the fall of 2016, David Brooks was advised by his doctor “to find another hobby” following an ultrasound that revealed he had 60% less circulation in his right leg compared to his left leg.

But for David, running isn’t simply a hobby. David is a Runner.

Ever since he started running, he’s been injury-prone in his lower legs in spite of doing all the right things. “For some reason, running comes very easy for me from the knees up, but from the knees down, my body simply does not cooperate” he explained.

But starting last fall, after a run, he’d have numbness followed by intense pain in his right foot, then all colour would drain, leaving his foot sickly white.

In November, the pain reached crisis proportions and an ultrasound was ordered by his physician. A CT scan was later performed to gain a better understanding of what was happening and that is when it was discovered that David had an aneurysm in his right iliac artery, just above the hip.

“I was told by the doctor that it isn’t a matter of ‘if it ruptures’ but ‘when it ruptures” said David. A person has about five minutes to live after an iliac or femoral artery ruptures.

David was told he’d have to have surgery and that the likelihood of him being able to run a marathon ever again following the surgery was unlikely.

The surgery was performed on July 31st at Guelph General Hospital, the lead hospital for vascular services in the Waterloo Wellington region. The specialized operating room where David’s surgery was performed was constructed in 2011, funded by the government. Caring donors then provided $1.6 million to equip this advanced OR with a state-of-the-art radiographic fluoroscope.

David described Guelph General Hospital “as a well-oiled machine.” The care he received from one department to the next was seamless and his surgeons have been thorough in their communications, making sure he was well informed every step of the way.

“I was really impressed from the moment my care at Guelph General started, especially with the CT scan that helped identify the aneurysm. I appreciated the transparency. I was given the disc with all the images so I could see and research for myself what was happening.”

Guelph General Hospital has an exceptional health care team. As David describes, “they are extremely busy, but still manage to remain ‘human,’ compassionate and caring.” However, it is community funding that gives the Hospital’s team the tools they need to care for their patients. In fact, one of every two dollars spent on Hospital equipment comes from community.

Since his surgery, David has been taking it one day at a time. He is determined to run again, but is heeding his surgeon’s advice to keep all activity to a minimum until his body has recovered.

Prior to his surgery, when he was told he may never run a marathon again, David started training for the Friendly Massey Marathon. With just seven weeks to prepare, he called on the support of a friend who trained with him and ran with him on the day of the marathon. He completed the marathon in 3:15:39 and qualified for Boston.

David’s goal is first and foremost to let his body heal from the surgery. Once his surgeons give him the ok, hopes to slowly start to run again and build up to training for the Boston Marathon.

Those who know David or  follow his blog know very well that he draws great strength from his faith and that he sees meaning in all life’s challenges. By sharing his story, he hopes to inspire generosity from Guelph’s running community to support Guelph General and bring purpose to this series of life events.