Life happens in a split second, said Pitt Meadows’ Alison Porter, in reference to a nasty tumble she suffered on a Whistler ski run on Thursday, March 11.
Thankfully, she added, Maple Ridge’s Aaron Dubois was only a split second behind her.
The pair were at the mountain separately taking in a ‘bluebird’ day on the slopes.
Porter was skiing with her husband, who was just ahead of her as they swished down Pika’s Traverse to make their way to Roundhouse Lodge for a bite to eat. Dubois was on his snowboard, also headed to the popular eatery.
“I don’t know what happened, but somehow she caught an edge and tumbled hard,” Dubois said.
“She did at least two somersaults, and her skis went flying everywhere, so I immediately stopped.”
He asked Porter if she was OK, to which she whimpered back, ‘no.’
The owner of Alley Cats Country Inn did not know it then, but she had broken eight ribs in multiple places, cracked her clavicle in two spots, and punctured a lung.
“I knew something was wrong,” she said. “I was in bad shape, and I didn’t think I could sit up. I was scared, and in excruciating pain, while having a hard time breathing.”
Porter’s husband did not notice his wife falling, so was a distance ahead before he realized she was not nearby.
Her Maple Ridge helper knew enough to make sure Porter stayed right where she was until ski patrol showed up.
“I just talked her through it,” he said. “I wanted her to just stay calm, and be as comfortable as possible.
“At times it seemed she was fading off, she was in so much pain, so I was just trying to keep her focused with some small talk.”
While chatting Porter and Dubois discovered they lived in neighbouring cities, and despite the circumstances, had a laugh about what it takes to meet people who live nearby.
A short while later ski patrol showed up and tobogganed Porter down the hill, at which point she was promptly taken to Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver.
She spent a few days there recovering, and was immensely grateful for the care of the health care staff, making sure to thank them all profusely.
However, Porter felt she missed out on thanking the first person to aid her after the accident.
Not knowing much about him – other than he was at Whistler and from Maple Ridge – she took to Facebook to see if anyone in the community might be able to help facilitate a connection.
“You stayed with me and jumped into action to get me the help that I so dearly needed,” she wrote in a post on the Pitt Meadows Community forum.
“You reassured me that everything was going to be ok… I will never be able to thank you enough for the time you took to comfort me and to secure the professional help needed.
“I have a lot of healing to do and that journey most certainly will take time and that journey started when you stopped to help me. I do hope this message finds you and that I may personally thank you.”
Not long after, Dubois wife got wind of the post, and informed him Porter was looking for him.
He and Porter had a chat on Friday.
“She as overwhelmed and extremely thankful, and wants to meet up,” Dubois said.
“So I think we’re going to try and meet under better circumstances.”
He said he did not think much of what he did at the time.
“I would do the same for anybody without thinking,” he said. “It’s in my nature. I just stopped and lent a hand.”
Porter hopes others follow his example.
“Just be a good neighbour, and help others in need,” she said.
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