July 17, 2019 1:08 pm
Updated: July 17, 2019 1:09 pm

B.C. woman needs help after heroic attempt to save man in wheelchair

WATCH: A B.C. woman who suffered life-altering injuries trying to save a disabled man stuck on railroad tracks needs help recovering from her ordeal. Nadia Stewart reports.


A Chilliwack woman hailed as a hero is in need of help.

“Asking the community and the world to try to help step up and fund the cost of your hand so I can get back to some sense of normal is a huge ask,” Julie Callaghan said during an interview Tuesday with Global News.

Callaghan suffered life-altering injuries last May when she tried to rescue a man in a wheelchair who was stuck on a railway crossing.

WATCH: (Aired May 27, 2018) Family of Chilliwack train victim calls for changes

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Matthew Jarvis was trying to cross the train tracks in his electric wheelchair when one of the wheels became stuck. Callaghan and another woman tried to dislodge the chair but were unsuccessful and Jarvis was struck and killed. The women got out of the way as the train approached, but the CN freight train caught her hand.

The damage was worse than anyone could have imagined.

“I can’t clap properly,” she said. “Little things that everyone else can do that I just can’t do anymore.”

Initially, when she left the hospital, she was told she had broken bones. However, as time passed, it became clear her injuries were much more severe. Callaghan now lives with a motor dysfunction — the result of a crippling disease in her nervous system. Three fingers on her right hand are practically dead. She doesn’t have any joint movement in her knuckles.

Callaghan has no regrets about her decision to try to help the man. But the scars from that day changed her life.

Recently, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, an American organization, gave her an award, describing what she did as an “extraordinary” act of heroism.

READ MORE: Family of man killed by train in Chilliwack say changes needed

However, she says they and many others aren’t aware of how much her life has changed since the incident.

“I got awarded an award recently and the caption at the bottom said my hand had been clipped by the train. And that’s not realistic,” she said.

Her last hope is amputation. The cost of a prosthetic is around $80,000, something her family cannot afford.

“How do you even consider figuring out where are you going to get that money from?” she asks.

An online fundraiser has been created for Callaghan.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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