A remarkable true tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat.’ — Leora Eisen, Documentary filmmaker
I MARRIED A THRILL-SEEKER
** by Danielle Kaplan **
Being a free spirit almost cost him everything…
For fans of incredible memoirs of trauma and recovery and for anyone living and loving a risk-taker, comes one man’s struggle to overcome a one percent chance at survival as told through the eyes of his wife, his high school sweetheart, who was his greatest ally…
When Danielle Kaplan’s type-A and adrenaline-junkie husband, Stephen Kaplan — former CFO and CEO of Deciem Beauty Group — sets off to take one last solo road trip on his BMW R1200GS Enduro motorcycle, from Toronto, Ontario to near Fairbanks, Alaska, Danielle knows it’s the last ‘adrenaline rush’ trip he’ll take on the bike–he’s promised to give it up for good.
So, when Danielle husband sets off for his last solo free-spirited ride, he expects to make it home–no drama, no unnecessary risks, just the freedom of the open road and the wind on his face. But it’s the ending neither of them dreamed of when he crashes on a remote highway in the Yukon, and its hours before he can receive medical treatment, his life changed in an instant.
The treacherous stretch of road between Carmacks and Watson Lake in the Yukon called the Campbell Highway was incredibly dangerous in the rain. Steve hit a pothole and crashed–and what follows is a true testament of luck, love, and incredible fortitude as his injuries leave him with a less than one percent survival rate.
This harrowing, heartfelt memoir of Danielle’s experiences during Steve’s tragic injuries and his incredible journey to recovery as she becomes his ally in regaining his health, attempting to understand his adrenaline-junkie antics and must come to terms with everything that’s happened with living and loving a thrill-seeker and the toll this trauma will have on her life and family.
As a former speech pathologist, Danielle becomes her husband’s greatest ally–fighting by his side the entire time, through every step forward and step back, as Steve regains his health after the tragic accident.
And from the months they spend in the hospital to her husband’s eventual recovery, she reveals her truthful, mixed emotions about everything from the life saving measures used to keep him alive to the unbearable decisions she had to make about their family. This heartfelt, raw story contains the essence of the human spirit, and is filled with both determination and love.
RAW, HONEST STORY: Danielle’s straightforward storytelling results in an open, unflinching look at the realities of a trauma of this magnitude.
MIRACLES DO HAPPEN: There are so many miraculous elements to the story–from the SPOT device landing close enough to alert the authorities to the life-saving techniques of modern medicine–that prove both undeniably meaningful and attractive to readers.
MEDICAL EXPERIENCE: Danielle’s own medical experiences allows for insights into trauma and recovery unseen by non-medical professionals. This allows for an element of expertise in the novel that could appeal to medical and non-medical professionals alike.
Danielle Kaplan (and/or her husband Stephen Kaplan) are available to discuss:
- Being a “cautious wife” or ‘risk-adversed’ and what it’s really like to live, love and be married to a thrill-seeker/Adrenaline Junkie/Sensation-Seeker
- Why they went to couple’s therapy over her husband’s craving of adrenaline rush.
- How she had to learn to accept a family member or loved one who enjoys taking part in extreme activities, involving physical risk. And how her husband had to learn how it feels to be married to a Thrill- Seeking, from his wife’s point of view.
- Why do people thrill-seek? The high thrill and minimal stress may drive sensation-seekers to repeatedly seek out new, exciting experiences. (The brain releases more dopamine in high sensation-seekers.)
- The many miraculous elements to the story–from the SPOT device landing close enough to alert the authorities to the life-saving techniques of modern medicine.
- Whether thrill-seeking is a characteristic or trait that people are born with. Some researchers maintain that about 20 percent of us are thrill-seekers, or know one, and how thrill-seekers have different brain chemistry than others.
- How she wrote it from a medical expert’s point of view as well as writing it from a loving wife’s POV.
- How to make life or death medical decisions on behalf on someone you love who can’t.
- The truck driver who miraculously found and rescued him. And how they went back to Alaska when he was recovered to visit him and his family.
- The impossible toll the accident and something of this magnitude took on the entire family, including their two teenagers.
- The friendships made at hospitals, especially on the trauma ward and the medical mysteries that helped saved her husband’s life.
- How her husband now copes and does he still Thill-Seek?
- How Stephen read his wife’s memoir and what he did and didn’t remember from his accident and miraculous recovery.
Afghan refugees: Government delays increasing financial pressure – CTV News
Refugee advocates are raising concerns that Afghan refugees granted asylum in Canada are being burdened by escalating costs stemming from the government’s delay in processing their claims.
Before they board their flight to Canada, all refugees are required to sign a loan agreement to pay back the cost of their transportation and pre-arrival expenses which can include hotel stays.
Some Afghans identified by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada as eligible for resettlement have been waiting months for exit permits while living in hotels arranged by the government. The hotel bills can add thousands of dollars to their debt.
The Canadian Council for Refugees says Afghans are being forced to pay for an inefficient bureaucracy.
“It seems like the Canadian government is taking advantage of the vulnerability of people,” says Janet Dench, executive director of the Canadian Council of Refugees. Hotel bills can add thousands of dollars to their government debt.
Dench says refugees have no choice but to accept a “legally dubious” contract that doesn’t stipulate a precise loan amount.
“If they want a permanent home they have to sign on to whatever the terms of the agreement are. There’s no negotiation room, so people are forced into this situation.”
LONG WAITS AND BIG BILLS
Because Canada doesn’t recognize the Taliban government Afghans must get to a third country with consular support to complete their refugee applications. Many flee to neighboring Pakistan where Canada has a High Commission in the capital of Islamabad.
Nearly all Afghan refugees deemed eligible for resettlement are placed in the care of the International Organization for Migration while they are overseas.
The IOM organizes both charter and commercial flights to Canada and coordinates hotel stays for refugees as they wait for their exit permits. IOM doesn’t book flights until after IRCC has completed security and medical checks of its applicants. The organization bills the Canadian government approximately $150 per day to house and provide three meals a day for one family.
Of the 25,400 Afghans who have arrived in Canada since August 2021, IOM spokesperson Paul Dillon told CTV News in an emailed statement Friday the organizations has arranged travel for more than 22,000 of those refugees.
The claims of another 15,000 Afghans Canada committed to accepting after the Taliban took over the country have been delayed.
Irfanullah Noori, 28 and his family of five stepped off a plane at Pearson International Airport less than two months ago at the end of October. Before the Taliban took over his homeland in Noori worked as a logistics coordinator at the Kabul International Airport. He qualified for asylum because his brother served as an interpreter for Canadian soldiers.
Before being issued travel documents to Canada, Nouri, his wife and their three children, all under the age of five – stayed in an Islamabad hotel arranged by IOM for three months.
Irfanullah Noori poses with his youngest daughter on October 25, 2022 at the Pakistan International Airport before he boarded plane bound for Canada.
Before boarding his flight he signed a loan agreement. Nouri says IOM staff told him he would need to repay hotel expenses that added up to more than $13,000. That amount does not factor in the cost of flights for his family that he will also have to repay.
IRCC says 96 per cent of refugees are able to pay back the loans. Monthly payments on the interest free loans are scheduled to begin one year after refugees arrive in Canada and costs can be spread out over nine years.
The federal government puts a cap of $15,000 on each loan per family, but the Canadian Council for Refugees says this is a misleading number.
Refugee families who have older dependents may have to pay back more than the cap. That’s because dependents over the age of 22 years old, can be considered a separate family unit and required to take on a new loan. Dench says this policy puts refugees in a precarious economic position. She’s seen families fight over finances and hopes and dreams put on hold.
“You have young people who should normally be going to university and pursuing their education but they feel that they’re morally obliged to get down to work, even at a minimum wage job in order to pay off the family debt,” said Dench. She argues the Canadian government should stop requiring refugees to repay the costs of getting them to safety, no matter where they come from.
SIMILAR CLAIMS, DIFFERENT TIME FRAMES
Since the fall of Kabul in August 2021, the Veterans Transition Network has helped raise funds to get interpreters and others out of Afghanistan. Oliver Thorne, VTN’s executive director says he’s frustrated that there are huge variations how long it takes for claims to be approved between applicants with similar profiles
“Some migrants are left in the dark. They don’t know why it’s taking them an additional two, four or six months compared to another interpreter who worked with the Canadian armed forces.” Thorne says IRCC needs to hire and train more staff to speed up the processing of claims.
He’s also calling for the removal of loan requirements, especially for Afghans who assisted the Canadian armed forces.
“They protected our men and women in uniform at great risk to themselves and their families. And secondly, these are going to be Canadians. They’re going to live here in our society down the street from us, and we have nothing to gain by making their transition more difficult,” Thorne said in an interview from Vancouver.
NO DEBT RELIEF
CTV News asked the Immigration Minister if it was fair that the Canadian government was burdening Afghans with additional costs due to the government backlog.
On Friday, Sean Fraser blamed a complicated process, but acknowledged that some refugees had been stuck “for a significant period of time.’ But the minister offered few solutions other than a vague reassurance that his department was “working with Pakistani officials to make sure we’re facilitating the smooth transportation of people to Canada.”
Meanwhile Noori is struggling to make ends meet in his new Ontario home, despite finding a job a few weeks ago at the General Motors plant in Oshawa.
Hired as a data-entry clerk, Noori earns $19/hour and is trying to pick up extra shifts on the weekend so he can make his $2,000 monthly rent on a one bedroom apartment.
Even though he won’t have to start paying back his refugee loan until next year, he’s daunted by the impending bill.
“It’s expensive (here.) I work 8 hours a day and six days a week. It will be very hard for me to pay back.”
After surviving the Taliban, Noori now faces subsistence in Canada.
Children’s hospital in Newfoundland and Labrador is cancelling some surgeries
A children’s hospital in the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador is cancelling some surgeries and appointments starting Monday.
Health officials say it’s due to a high level of respiratory illness.
It is unclear how many surgeries and appointments at Janeway Children’s Health and Rehabilitation Centre in St. John‘s will be affected.
Residents who are not experiencing a medical emergency are being asked to avoid visiting an emergency department.
Slain RCMP Const. Yang cleared of wrongdoing in shooting: B.C. police watchdog
The Independent Investigations Office says after a review of all available evidence its chief civilian director determined that there are no reasonable grounds to believe Const. Shaelyn Yang committed an offence.
It says the matter will not be referred to the Crown for consideration of charges.
Yang, a 31-year-old mental health and homeless outreach officer, was stabbed to death on Oct. 18 while she and a City of Burnaby employee attempted to issue an eviction notice to a man who had been living in a tent at a local park.
Yang shot the suspect before she died, and the IIO later said Jongwon Ham underwent surgery for his injuries.
Ham has since been charged with first-degree murder in Yang’s death.
“Due to concurrent court proceedings related to the incident, the IIO’s public report will not be released on the IIO website until that process has concluded,” the IIO said in a news release.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2022.
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