Tim Hickman Memorial Scholarship awarded to Fanshawe student

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: COURTESY OF SHIRLEY HICKMAN
The scholarship bearing Tim Hickman's name was established by the City of London in his memory and was first awarded in 2006, 10 years after his tragic death while employed by the city.

Shelby Delagardeaux, student of the Primary Care Paramedic program at Fanshawe College, has been awarded the Tim Hickman Memorial Health and Safety Scholarship. The $3,000 scholarship is awarded to individuals who have made significant contributions to planning and/or executing workplace health and safety initiatives.

“My vision is to create a weather-proof case where [automatic external defibrillators (AED)] can be placed inside, and by pushing a button on the case will automatically have the user connect with dispatch who can unlock the case and provide further instructions on managing a cardiac arrest prior to advanced life support showing up.”

AEDs are typically found in high traffic public spaces such as libraries, airports, and sports arenas, but as Delagardeaux pointed out, “those places don’t have 24/7 access to the AEDs, and if someone goes into cardiac arrest while in a park, in a residential home…there is no AED to ‘restart’ their heart.”

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Delagardeaux noted there are several considerations for deploying AED, but said the initiative is logistically and financially feasible.

The scholarship bearing Tim Hickman’s name was established by the City of London in his memory and was first awarded in 2006, 10 years after his tragic death while employed by the city.

Shirley Hickman—founder and executive director of Threads of Life and lifelong volunteer—is Tim’s mother.

“He enjoyed sports and his work. He was really good with people and had a special ability to work with people with ‘challenges.’ He supported his friends well…there was an explosion on March 23, 1996, and Tim died April 2 from those injuries.”

Tim’s death occurred just before celebrating his 21st birthday with his friends.

“Instead, they all gathered at the hospital waiting for news. Over time, we made the decision to do something positive with our love for Tim and Threads of Life grew from that love for Tim and care for our community.”

Threads of Life supports workers and their families affected by life-altering injury and occupational diseases. The organization trains volunteers who go to schools, colleges, and health and safety events to promote prevention of workplace injury. They also train Volunteer Family Guides—peer support volunteers trained in listening skills so they may help others who are similarly affected by workplace injury or death.

“We are currently supporting more than 3,200 Canadian family members across Canada. We work with all the [Workers Compensation Boards], ministry of labours, many of the workplace safety organizations and employers who want to decrease injury and deaths.”

Delagardeaux said the receiving the award has come with mixed emotions. While honoured and humbled to receive the scholarship, she expressed sadness that tragedy led to its creation.

“I hope to make Tim and his family proud with my passion for paramedicine along with health and safety, and how this scholarship is going towards my education.”