Kirsten Badenduck (1949-2019)

  • Kirsten Badenduck, in a cartoon drawn by her close friend, the late Peter Woolcock (Picture supplied)

    Kirsten Badenduck, in a cartoon drawn by her close friend, the late Peter Woolcock (Picture supplied)

  • Love of life: surgeons forecast Kirsten Badenduck might only live for two years after she was injured in a car crash in 2002 (Photograph supplied)

    Love of life: surgeons forecast Kirsten Badenduck might only live for two years after she was injured in a car crash in 2002 (Photograph supplied)

  • Kirsten Badenduck (Photograph from Facebook)

    Kirsten Badenduck (Photograph from Facebook)

Kirsten Badenduck, an insurance executive who became a champion for the disabled, has died. Ms Badenduck was 69.

She was confined to a wheelchair after she suffered serious injuries in 2002 car crash while on holiday in Northern California.

But Ms Badenduck remained independent and became a campaigner for others who faced similar problems. She joined the National Accessibility Advisory Council in 2007 to push for better treatment for the disabled.

MeChelle Smith, who was one of her caregivers after she returned to the island from medical rehabilitation, said Ms Badenduck refused to lose hope.

Ms Smith said: “She put her best foot forward and smiled through it all. It never failed.” Ms Badenduck loved art, music and theatre, and with the help of friends she acquired the equipment to make herself as independent as possible.

Cindy Swan, co-founder of the transportation charity Project Action, said Ms Badenduck relied on their service to get to her job at Ace. “She was a very positive person — I didn’t know her before her accident and can just imagine the spirit that she had, being incapacitated with her disability,” Ms Swan said.

“She was a go-getter spirit, very much alive and well.”

Tore Badenduck, her older brother, said Ms Badenduck got a wheelchair that could raise her to eye level and could fit into a car, which she could operate herself.

With the help of Ms Smith and carers Simone Trott and Apol Lo, she was also able to exercise by swimming.

Mr Badenduck said: “She had confidence and courage. Surgeons forecast that she would live two years, a maximum of ten, but she almost made 17.

“She had a huge amount of friends and was lucky enough to continue to live in her house in Smith’s with good caregivers. It all helped — it was cumulative.”

He added her standout features were “her smile and her persistence”.

Mr Badenduck said: “It goes back to our mother, Anna Marie, who was a very determined individual, as well as from her being an immigrant.

“She also had success, and success breeds more determination.”

The family were originally from the Norwegian capital, Oslo, but moved to rural Quebec in Canada in the early 1950s.

Ms Badenduck was the youngest of three, with two older brothers. Mr Badenduck said: “She came out not speaking English and grew up in a small town where English and French were the ‘two solitudes’, as the expression goes.”

The term, from the title of a 1945 novel by the Canadian author Hugh MacLennan, described the divide between the country’s English and French-speaking peoples.

The family later moved to Montreal, where Ms Badenduck studied psychology and library science at McGill University — and met a Bermudian, Brian Luckhurst, who was studying marine biology.

They married and moved to Bermuda and Mr Luckhurst became the senior fisheries officer at the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Mr Badenduck said: “She said ‘This is my kind of place’.

The couple, who had no children, later separated.

Ms Badenduck, who preferred the Norwegian version “Shishten” for her first name, started work the Bermuda National Library.

Frances Marshall, a friend and colleague from her library days, said her former boss was “a very intelligent, very engaging woman” who loved swimming and sport.

Ms Marshall, who befriended Ms Badenduck in 1981, added: “She didn’t wait for things to come to her. She took lemons and made lemonade.”

Ms Badenduck moved on to become a medical librarian at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.

A turning point came in 1985, when she joined the insurance giant Ace Bermuda.

Mr Badenduck said his sister was “in the right place at the right time with the right mix of talents”.

Ms Badenduck started out researching companies in the firm’s information services department and climbed the company ranks, becoming vice-president of properties.

Mr Badenduck said his sister left behind a large selection of equipment and accessories for the disabled, which the family wanted to pass on to others.

Ms Badenduck died in her sleep on January 14, and will be buried at the family grave in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts in Quebec, Canada.

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Published Jan 31, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 31, 2019 at 6:36 am)

Kirsten Badenduck (1949-2019)

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