Hamilton·Hamilton Votes

Ward 3 candidate rescues elderly woman while door knocking

Amanda Salonen was campaigning, placing door hangers, when she heard a faint cry for help on the other side of a door.

Amanda Salonen heard the woman's cry for help as she was putting door hangers on people's doors

Amanda Salonen. (Amanda Salonen)

Ward 3 candidate Amanda Salonen was campaigning, placing door hangers, when she heard a faint cry for help on the other side of a door.

The palliative care nurse was at St. John's Place, a high rise at 20 Emerald St. She was on her last door when she heard the faint, plaintive cry of an elderly woman.

"Is someone there?" she called through the door. "Do you need help?"

"I had a seizure," the woman said. "I can't get up."

Thus began an incident that turned Salonen from campaigner to life saver. 

Salonen is running in the Oct. 22 municipal election, one of a crowded 13-candidate heat. Her platform includes affordable housing, more support for seniors and single-parent families, public safety, encouraging small business and public engagement. 

She's been campaigning while working two jobs. It was around 5:30 p.m. Thursday when she and her mom, Wendy Ariens-Tomes, were knocking on their last doors at the Emerald St. building. Salonen went in one direction, Ariens-Tomes the other.

Salonen says she heard the woman through the door and asked her a series of questions. Was she alone? Could she move? The woman, Salonen recalls, said she'd "hit her and head and was fuzzy."

The door was locked, so Salonen called 911 and went to get the building superintendent. Ariens-Tomes kept talking to the woman through the door.

Salonen and the superintendent returned to the door around the same time paramedics got there. As paramedics helped the woman, Salonen — familiar with geriatric patients — checked the woman's medications. The woman had Parkinson's.

The woman was disoriented, said Ariens-Tomes, but had been there for some time. She's proud of Salonen.

"She's a really caring person," she said. "She kind of steps up to get things done."

Hamilton's paramedic service confirmed the call and that bystanders handing out flyers came across the patient asking for help.

Salonen said everyone in Ward 3 has been friendly as she's knocked on doors. Candidate Ned Kuruc has focused on policing and crime. Salonen said that's not the Ward 3 she knows.

"I find that people are unbelievably kind, even if they have another sign on their lawn."

Milena Balta, Keith Beck, Alain Bureau, Steven Paul Denault, Laura Farr, Brendan Kavanaugh, Tony Lemma, Nrinder Nann, Stephen Rowe, Dan Smith and Kristeen Sprague are also running in Ward 3. There is no incumbent.


Samantha Craggs is a CBC News reporter based in Hamilton, Ont. She often tweets about Hamilton city hall. Follow her on Twitter at @SamCraggsCBC, or email her at samantha.craggs@cbc.ca