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Health issues drive this volunteer

Landis Brubacher has fully recovered from his two “mini-strokes” seven years ago but he continues to canvas every February for the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Heart Month. [Whitney Neilson / The Observer]

Landis Brubacher knows the importance of turning a negative into a positive. After suffering two transient ischemic attacks, commonly called “mini-strokes,” seven years ago, he took matters into his own hands.

Landis Brubacher has fully recovered from his two “mini-strokes” seven years ago but he continues to canvas every February for the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Heart Month. [Whitney Neilson / The Observer]
Landis Brubacher has fully recovered from his two “mini-strokes” seven years ago but he continues to canvas every February for the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Heart Month. [Whitney Neilson / The Observer]
“That affected my left eye and I realized something was not right, and then I went to the doctor about that and he prescribed a cholesterol lowering [drug] and then six weeks after that I had a mini-stroke and it affected my right side,” Brubacher said. “It got numb. I spent the weekend at the hospital.”

The Elmira school bus driver and former turkey farmer changed his diet and exercise regime before becoming one of the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s most valuable door-to-door volunteers.

Brubacher says he and his wife try to eat whole foods as much as possible and they’ve brought their healthy eating habits up a notch from where they were.

“We weren’t junk food eaters, but I guess you might say I’ve been reading nutrition labels a lot more, checking for salt and fat, which I never did before,” Brubacher said.

He also works out twice a week with his personal trainer, Bruce Martin, to keep in shape and help with his back. He also enjoys biking in the summer rather than driving the car, which probably helped with his new clean bill of health.

Since he started collecting for the foundation four years ago he’s raised nearly $4,000. The Heart Month campaign, which runs through February each year, is vital to the foundation. He can’t pinpoint exactly how he’s been so successful at fundraising, but he has a few ideas. His assigned route is in the north of Elmira.

“It’s because of the area I canvas,” Brubacher said. “Some of the people know me. One lady I go to I went to school with. A lot of them are Old Order Mennonites. They tend to want to help.”

The funds go toward important research being done by 1,500 researchers across the country, including in Waterloo Region. Most recently they co-funded a new stroke treatment called ESCAPE, which has been shown to cut the death rate from major ischemic strokes in half.

He’s just about finished for the month, and is planning to get the rest done this weekend. The abnormally cold weather has made it difficult to get out door to door, along with being a spare bus driver. He also drives buses as a volunteer for bible camps in the summer.

“Forty-eight years I’ve had my license,” Brubacher said. “I haven’t been driving all that time. For the past 15 years I’ve been a spare driver. When I got my license in 1976 I drove a regular route for 11 years.”

Since he’s fully recovered from the mini-strokes, Brubacher says he plans to continue driving the school bus and helping his son on his turkey farm.

“As long as I can do it I’ll do it.”

Donations for Heart Month can be made at www.heartandstroke.ca.

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