Survival story: Jamie Sproule, lost for days in woods, now back home
65-year-old has mild dementia and failed to return to his Cumberland, B.C., home after a walk in May
A Vancouver Island man with Parkinson's disease and mild dementia, who was found after being lost for five days in the woods in May, has since recovered and is talking about his ordeal.
"I remember falling and I remember it was very difficult getting up," 65-year-old Jamie Sproule said Monday.
In May, Sproule left home to go for a walk, but failed to return. After a couple of days, the official search for him was called off. But his community didn't give up.
Sophie Gilmore, a family friend, is one of many who kept looking. And she found him, in thick brush, just 300 metres from home.
By then, he had been missing for five days and was barely alive.
He was weak and had deep wounds. He couldn't walk, and he'd also lost his voice, which he'd strained by calling out for help.
In hospital, once he could talk, he told her what he recalled.
"He remembered lying on his back, calling for help and I asked if he had heard any of us and he said, 'No,' and then he said, 'Although, I guess you heard me,' is what he told me," Gilmore said. "And I said, 'Sorry, it took so long.'"
Now, after nearly two months in hospital Sproule is finally home.
"I feel good. I feel probably better than I should," he said.
His wife, Gwynne, says he's off the walker and she thinks he's on the path to regaining full mobility. He is also quickly getting back to what his family calls "his normal cheeky self."
When asked how he managed to survive, he smiles and says, "I'm just an absolute bastard."
His daughter, Annabelle, said she tried to piece together what she could of her father's journey, but it still remains a mystery.
"We've just kind of retraced his steps and tried to sort out on our own where, what he did and where he went," she said. "But no, he doesn't remember too much about what happened."
But he definitely remembers Gilmore, when she stops by for a welcome-home celebration the family organized.
"My saviour!" he exclaims, before reaching out to hug her.
With files from the CBC's Belle Puri