Tania Coltman has always seen her dad as ‘unbreakable.’
“He just trucks through everything,” the 41-year-old Sarnia woman said of her father Randy Cuthbert.
The retired Bell Canada employee-turned-Lambton Elderly Outreach handyman is also a devoted hockey player.
“Anyone who knows him knows he’s very humble, never asks for help, and just loves to give back,” she said.
But that all changed on Feb. 27 when, during a recreational game, 64-year-old Cuthbert crashed head-first into the boards, with no time to brace himself. The impact crushed his vertebrae and he lost consciousness.
“His head wasn’t held on by anything but muscle and skin,” Coltman said of her dad, who was taken to hospital by ambulance before heading to London.
“He was in so much intolerable pain, he couldn’t move… describing it as 12 out of 10.”
That’s when Coltman knew it was bad; her dad, who’s had both knees and hips replaced, once duct-taped his severed finger back in place just to finish a job.
“I’ve never seen him like this.”
Cuthbert underwent surgery, which included placing screws in his C1 and C2 vertebrae, as well as pins and cadaver bone to help reconstruct his neck.
It’ll be six to eight months at least before he might work again. Wife Sharon has given up her part-time job to provide full-time care for him. Recovery includes physiotherapy in London.
Despite her dad’s reluctance, Coltman launched a Go Fund Me Page for her parents in hopes of easing the burden of their expenses.
“He’s an amazing husband and father who bends over backwards for everybody,” she said.
“He’s a strong man, but this time, it’s different.”
More than $13,000 has already been raised for Cuthbert, who retired from Bell Canada in his 50s, only to take up work with LEO, doing various odd jobs and home maintenance for local seniors.
With more than 50 years of hockey under his belt — including a stint with the Michigan Senior Olympic team in Europe — Cuthbert had still been playing three to four times a week in various leagues in Sarnia and Port Huron, before the injury.
A charity hockey game is also in the works for later this month, Coltman said.
And while her dad may still be unbreakable, he could use all the help he can get, she said.
“You just feel so helpless, but the support has been amazing. I showed him the (fundraising) page and he had tears in his eyes.”
To donate, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/Help-Randy-and-Sharon-Cuthbert-through-this?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link-tip&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet