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GARRIOCH: Mike Glover touched by the outpouring of support after having his leg amputated

When Mike Glover came on the line from his Ottawa home, he sounded bright and cheerful, his outlook on everything life has to offer unchanged.

A week ago, the 52-year-old Glover saw his world change forever after doctors at the Civic campus of The Ottawa Hospital amputated his right leg just above the knee; he had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. Released from hospital a day after the surgery, Glover needs rest and time to recover, but says he can’t wait to get on with his new life.

Glover and his wife, Laura Kitney, already knew they had lots of support, but, if they needed proof, they got a ton of it when Glover’s brother, Rick, put up a GoFundMe campaign to raise $100,000 to buy a prosthetic leg for Mike. Within four days, they’d surpassed their goal. As of Tuesday, it stood at nearly $105,000.

“It’s insane. Honestly, I’m speechless. I have no words to describe how this all happened. The hockey world, golf, work, my friends, everybody … it’s unbelievable. It really is,” Glover told Postmedia on Tuesday. “When this started, a couple of the guys said we’ll probably get there and it will just take some time.

“This was something I didn’t realize was going to happen. My brother just kind of set it up. He spoke to friends like Mike Dagenais and John Stanton and the response has just been ridiculous.”

In a lot of ways, it’s been touching and meaningful. As Glover noted, the people who have donated come from every part of his life in this city. A talented junior with the Ontario Hockey League’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds from 1985 to 1988, Glover has been scouting part-time in the Ottawa area for the Windsor Spitfires for the past nine years.

A diagnostic systems analyst at The Ottawa Hospital, Glover has marveled at some of those who have donated. Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, San Jose Sharks coach Bob Boughner, Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion, head coach D.J. Smith and assistant Bob Jones are among those who have given their support.

Those are just some of the names; Glover is thankful to everybody who has given whatever they can.

“It doesn’t seem real,” Glover said. “The amount of people who have reached out. The day after my surgery, I think I had 70 different conversations on my phone with text messages and people just checking in and to see how I’m doing. My phone blows up daily with people checking and seeing if they can get us anything.”

The decision to amputate the leg wasn’t easy, however, it was the only option given by doctors after the cancer was discovered behind the knee. Glove had a sore knee in September, had a cortisone shot to relieve the pain, had several tests that didn’t show anything and then, after a procedure in March, the decision was made to amputate.

There are only 19 known cases of the same type of cancer in Canada and only 450 across the world.

“They didn’t know how to treat it or a plan to cure it. (The doctor) said the best case (scenario) right now for us for survival was to amputate the leg just above the knee,” Glover said. “There was no hesitation, of course, it was just let’s go and let’s do this because there’s definitely no question.

“It was an aggressive cancer in the bone, so it had to be done sooner rather than later because all the pain I was getting, and it was spreading fairly quickly, so they basically had to act quick. It was a no-brainer.”

He’s getting around the house with crutches, a walker and a wheelchair, trying to stay positive, but he has his moments.

“Mentally it’s been a struggle at times, but, at other times, I just feel like so many other people are going through worse or have gone through this,” Glover said. “For me, just to have an amputation, with a leg and so many other people have prosthetics and you can’t even tell. I’ll be able to do everything I was doing, so I’m grateful for that.

“I’m kind of treating it like a hockey injury. I’ve got that mentality that I’m going to deal with it and move on.”

Naturally, there are challenges ahead. Doctors will give him time to recover and then determine the next step in treatment for the cancer. He will spend 4-6 weeks at the rehabilitation centre at The Ottawa Hospital learning how to live with a prosthetic.

Glover’s goal is simple: He wants to get back to work, scouting again and playing golf.

“Staying at home is just driving me absolutely crazy,” Glover said. “I’m just glad The Masters is on this week because it will give me something to watch while I’m healing, and then I’ll start with the doctor’s appointments again. I have my moments (where it’s tough), but, for the most part, I’ve been pretty good.

“I’ve kept the attitude that it’s just a leg, I’ve got a prosthetic coming and I’ll be good. This is just a bump in the road and we’re going to move past it.”

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Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2021

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