Former naval officer and stroke survivor back on his feet


Hi. My name is Tim Kerr. I am a retired Naval Officer and stroke survivor.

On May 27th/28th, I am participating in the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend while raising funds for a local charity that is important to me through the Scotiabank Charity Challenge. My charity is the Bruyere Foundation, which supports the Elizabeth Bruyère Hospital Stroke Rehabilitation Unit.

I am hoping you could post my story to your membership today or tomorrow if possible, as I continue to raise awareness and support for this organization that is so critical to our community.

In 2012, I was Commanding Officer of a Royal Canadian Navy destroyer at sea in the Pacific Ocean. One night while at sea about 150 Nautical Miles off the California coast, I suffered a severe brain hemorrhage and hemorrhagic stroke. My crew made the critical initial decisions that saved my life, got me to the ICU at San Diego Naval Hospital, and eventually enabled me to reach the stroke rehabilitation unit at Bruyère. I owe my life to my crew and the efforts they made on my behalf.

With the stroke I had lost the use of my left side and couldn’t even sit up straight. I was a patient on the 4th floor of Elizabeth Bruyère Hospital for over three months. It was very hard, and there were some very low times. But I wasn’t alone. I had the support of many people – my family and friends, who pushed me, motivated me, wouldn’t let me give up, and reminded me of why it was so important for me to recover. And of course, I owe so much to Bruyère: the nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, the volunteers, and so many more – all of whom worked with me and for me to enable me to get to where I am today. They changed my life, They gave me my life back to me.

And so I am completing this half-marathon to raise money for this critical health care facility in our community. I was 43 years old when I had my stroke! I was fit, I had never been a smoker, I ate well. I had no risk factors for stroke. And yet, it happened, unexpectedly, and out of the blue! What I have learned about life is that no matter how hard you try you can never completely control whether something like a stroke is going to happen to you. But, what we can control is what happens after we experience an event such as a stroke, by ensuring that we have the best possible chance to recover and return to our families, our jobs, our community. Bruyère provides us this this chance. By supporting Bruyère, by helping to make sure that this facility and community of dedicated professionals are able to continue to offer first-rate, innovative and life-changing care and research, we are ensuring such support is available when we, our children and future generations may need it.

Please help me reach my fundraising goal. Here is the link to my story in Saturday’s Ottawa Citizen:

And here is the link to my fundraising page:

Thanks for your support!


Tim Kerr, Capt(N) (Retired)
Mobile: 613-979-9326