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Loss of glasses has happy ending for qathet residents

Prescription important for paramedic’s medical condition

Paramedic Adrian Ralph moved to the qathet region from the village of Chase, BC, last November, and is originally from Wales in the United Kingdom.

Since the move from Chase, Ralph said he has grown to love the area and the people who live here. Three weeks ago, while out on a call to pick up a patient from qathet General Hospital, Ralph's prescription sunglasses vanished.

"It was a sunny day and I was wearing my prescription sunglasses and once I got into the hospital, I swapped my glasses over to my normal glasses," said Ralph. "While helping the patient onto the ambulance stretcher my sunglasses kept falling off my jacket where they were hooked on, so I put them on the countertop in one of the rooms in the emergency ward."

In the hustle and bustle of being a paramedic, Ralph left the glasses behind. He returned later to retrieve them, but they were gone.

"I asked the staff if they had seen them but nobody had," said Ralph. "I put a call out [on social media] pleading for the return of my sunglasses, as being a diabetic, I find it difficult to operate in bright conditions." 

He said many people responded and shared his post, but to no avail. 

Local optician Helen Whitaker saw Ralph's message and reached out to him, offering a free pair of prescription sunglasses.

"I've been in the glasses business for a while now and the opportunity to give back was important," said Whitaker, who is also an overseas transplant. She fell in love with and moved to the northern Sunshine Coast years ago.

"These are the people [paramedics] who look after our most vulnerable and go into the most vulnerable situations," she added. 

Whitaker operates a mobile optician service with an office on Marine Avenue.

"[Paramedics] are always there [on every 911 call] and  they don't say ‘no, I don't want to go,’" said Whitaker. "So to have that happen and to be compromised with your vision, that is affecting your job.”

Both Whitaker and Ralph said they have found that the community here is constantly helping one another out.

"This was such a kind gesture from a business that would have no financial gain from this," summarized Ralph.

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