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More than $65,000 raised to help nurse injured after fall

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Russ Ford, a former nurse of the year, suffered an “horrific” fall in February (File photograph)

Bermudians have donated more than $65,000 to help with the recovery of a former Nurse of the Year who pioneered HIV/Aids awareness and care on the island in the 1980s.

Russ Ford is still recovering from a fall at home in February, which his family described as “horrific”, but it is hoped he will be able to return to Bermuda from overseas next month.

Mr Ford is undergoing treatment in Arizona after the accident and well-wishers have expressed gratitude for the show of support for him across the island.

Mark Anderson, also known as the drag artist Sybil, Queen of Bermuda, said Mr Ford was touched by the reaction to his situation.

“I am very, very pleased, and people are really being very supportive,” Mr Anderson said. “I am really happy at the response that he has received and I am sure he is, too.”

The family of Mr Ford, who had medical insurance, have set up a GoFundMe page to try and raise $200,000 for his ongoing needs when he comes back to the island.

Mr Anderson highlighted the campaign with a walk from St George to Dockyard, which boosted the fundraising effort.

Mark Anderson, centre, E. Michael Jones, left, and Bob Smith captured on South Road during the charity walk to raise funds for Russ Ford (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

While campaigning for greater help and support for people dealing with HIV/Aids, Mr Ford, who was also a probation officer, founded Bermuda’s first hospice, Agape House.

The facility still operates as a respite for anyone who is in need.

Describing the aftermath of the injuries suffered by Mr Ford, his family’s post on the GoFundMe page states: “He was medevacked to the US where he received emergency surgery by a Bermudian orthopaedic surgeon.

“Russ’s initial diagnosis was that of quadriplegia; however, with perseverance and rehabilitation, his condition has been upgraded to paraplegia.

“He is still receiving care in the hospital rehab unit where his daily therapy sessions have continued to test his fortitude and determination.

“Russ has reflected and expressed that ‘life has changed and everything is different’.

“His faith has been tested right to the wire, but he deeply believes that all things happen in God’s time.

“The daunting process of discharge planning has begun for his family, healthcare team and friends.

“Due to his lower-body paralysis, Russ will require special assistive devices and resources for his daily care when discharged from the hospital.

“Although he has insurance, the cost of acquiring, shipping and maintaining the medical equipment will be prohibitive.

“His needs include a motorised wheelchair, a special bed for spinal injuries, a hoist, daily medical supplies to support his daily living, rehabilitation therapy and a full-time caregiver.

“The goal is to assist Russ in covering some of the out-of-pocket costs for his care.”

• Donations can be made here or via Butterfield Bank account No 06 007 631 900 19

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Published April 17, 2023 at 7:57 am (Updated April 17, 2023 at 12:08 pm)

More than $65,000 raised to help nurse injured after fall

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