ERH staffers honour colleague at Wheel to Heal
A group of staff from Eagle Ridge Hospital are teaming up for Wheel to Heal next month in honour of their late colleague.
Juri Chkhartishvili joined the nursing staff of ERH’s emergency department in 2004. He passed away in January from cancer. Now a team of ER doctors, nurses and a paramedic are training for Wheel to Heal on May 6 under the banner of Team 6, the number Chkhartishvili, an avid soccer fan, wore on his jersey when he played.
“Because he was so well liked and so well respected, we thought it was entirely fitting to dedicate our ride to Juri,” said ER doctor Brian Deady, who is participating in his third Wheel to Heal on the 100-km course. Chkhartishvili was born in 1961 in Georgia, then part of the USSR, and later married a Russian woman. They moved to Israel, where Chkhartishvili worked as a nurse for 12 years before moving to Canada in 2001.
“He didn’t speak a word of English, and within two-and-a-half years he was working as an ER nurse at Eagle Ridge,” Deady said, noting by then his colleague was fluent in Georgian, Russian, Hebrew and English.
Chkhartishvili quickly made friends throughout the hospital and stood out as a highly skilled nurse, Deady said.
“The word that came out most often among my physician colleagues was ‘unflappable,’” Deady said. “When you’d get in to a tough situation he just had nerves of steel, and you’d come out of a resuscitation or whatever it was and he’d offer people chocolate. He was a real chocolate fan.”
Team 6 hopes to raise at least $5,000 in Wheel to Heal. Funds raised in this year’s event will purchase new endoscopy equipment, which helps diagnose everything from throat and stomach cancer to Crohn’s disease and kidney stones, for Eagle Ridge Hospital.
“Our goals are twofold: to raise money for equipment for the hospital through Wheel to Heal and also to commemorate a much liked, and now very much missed colleague Juri,” Deady said.
Wheel to Heal offers four courses: a 500 m kids’ race; a 10 km, a 40 km and 100 km routes.
• Visit wheeltoheal.ca for full event information and registration. To donate to Team 6, search for them by clicking on the “Pledge” button.