- Robby Jewers had to relearn everything after suffering a cardiac arrest in 2015 that left him unconscious for 20 minutes.
- Robby Jewers, a Cobourg resident, has earned every step of his journey back to doing what he loves: painting, six years after suffering a significant cardiac arrest that left him dead for 20 minutes.
Jewers was rushed to Toronto General Hospital for surgery after suffering a heart attack in 2015, but his brain did not accept enough oxygen, resulting in an anoxic brain injury. As a result, doctors were unsure whether he would ever walk or talk again.
“I had to know everything all over again,” he says of his 289-day hospital stay.
Relearning to walk This former personal trainer and bodybuilder required four months of intensive therapy. But he credits his lifelong commitment to healthy living as the reason he was able to recover from the brink of death along with incredible doctors, of course.
“A big part of it was healthy living,” the 57-year-old says. Jewers aspired to be a professional hockey player as a child and idolized the Cobourg Cougars, the local hockey team.
Even while playing defense, he had a reputation for getting the puck in the net, with a healthy number of goals or assists, and he takes pride in being named Most Sportsmanlike Player.
Jewers says he had caught the “iron bug” by the time he was attending Cobourg District Collegiate Institute East, where he was also a member of the school’s last football team in 1979, having worked out with his father for years to strengthen himself for hockey.
By 1980, when he was 15, he had turned his attention to bodybuilding, a hobby that would take him all over the country to travel, compete, and train as he shuttled between Cobourg and California.
Competing in bodybuilding allowed him to realize a childhood dream of training at Gold’s Gym in California, which was then regarded as the “mecca” for bodybuilders and exercise and living with his bodybuilding hero, Masters Olympia and Mr. Universe title winner Robby Robinson.
He even got to play He-Man for Mattel, doing meet-and-greets with children and signing autographs. Jewers’ new work is featured in the 43rd Juried Exhibition at the Northumberland Art Gallery, which is on display until January 4th and is also on display at the Family Dental Centre in Cobourg, where he has sold a few pieces to local collectors.
He’s even written a children’s book called “My Cat Came Back,” which features his artwork. A portion of the book’s proceeds will be donated to the Brain Injury Association of Peterborough Region.
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