On a fateful day in 2016, Chris Jameson’s life took a harrowing turn. As one of six cyclists struck by a sleep-impaired driver, he faced a cascade of life-threatening injuries—ruptured carotid arteries, a coma-inducing brain bleed, shattered bones, and more. For two weeks, he battled unconsciousness and endured three months of hospitalization, missing the birth of his son, and grappling with cognitive impairments, speech challenges, and excruciating physical pain. The next five years and beyond were filled with personal and professional challenges, which Chris faced and overcame with the help of his family and the staff at Royal Columbian Hospital.
A dedicated cyclist, Chris had raced around the globe, and balanced a prestigious career as an accountant. He was on the brink of a significant promotion at professional services firm KPMG before the accident that would change his life forever.
He was discharged on January 20th, 2017, to be with his wife Veronika, who had given birth to their son Andrew only days before. “For the first few years Andrew was my biggest challenge and at the same time my biggest motivator. All I wanted was peace and quiet, and to sleep 18 hours a day. I helped Veronika where I could but in reality, she was caring for a newborn baby and brain injury patient for years,” Chris remarks.
Despite the obstacles in this journey, the whole family showed resilience and determination both in helping Chris heal and dealing with their new normal. Chris’ recovery involved extensive rehabilitation with a team of neuropsychologists, surgeons, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, and physiotherapists to help him relearn how to speak, walk, and do common tasks that most people take for granted every day, like tying their shoes.
He gradually returned to work, initially just six hours a week, slowly increasing his hours over the course of a year. Although he was advised by his medical team that full-time work was unrealistic, he persisted and managed to return to a pre-accident leadership position after years of rehab, preparation, and hard work.
In addition to his renewed professional success, Chris focused on giving back to the community. Despite the challenges posed by his traumatic brain injury, he coached his son’s soccer team, mentored junior colleagues at work, and shared his story to provide hope to others going through similar struggles. He was recognized as a ‘Ride Hero’ in the 2018 Wheel2Heal event for his fundraising efforts.
On this journey, Chris has felt the full range of emotions from anger and loss to a sense of gratitude and empathy for others facing health challenges. He says, “My experience grounded me and made it clear how our emergency and medical services are such a foundational part of our community. In our busy lives we often take them for granted but they are there when you need them, and I shall forever be grateful.”
Over the years, he and his family have returned to Royal Columbian Hospital multiple times to thank medical staff and remind them of the significant impact their work has had on his life, his family’s lives, and the lives of everyone they help.
Chris views his experience as an opportunity for personal transformation and community engagement. He is passionate about self-care and mental well-being, finding solace in nature, and practicing meditation to manage his emotions. Despite the continuous reminders of his trauma, he remains committed to maintaining health, simplicity, and balance in his life. His story is a powerful example of courage, resilience, and the tenacity of the human spirit.