It was a warm day on May 26 when Jade Biglow was walking with her step-son towards her car after attending the Endometriosis Awareness March downtown Guelph when she was about to save a man’s life.
Due to limited parking downtown, Biglow had parked near the Sleeman Centre doors on Woolwich St., and, as it turns, out she was happy she did, the Guelph resident explained to The Guelph Post.
As the pair walked towards the entrance, they noticed a man that they thought may be sleeping on the floor. As they got closer, however, Biglow saw the man was “all kinds of blue” and struggling to breathe.
It was at this point that Biglow realized that the individual was overdosing.
She knew fairly quickly that it was an overdose due to an opiate as the drugs were on the floor beside him. And, she was a recovering addict herself and thus was able to recognize the signs and act quickly.
A man who had reached the fallen individual — who sometimes stopped breathing during this time — had attempted cardiopulmonary resuscitation without success and was panicking.
But Biglow knew what to do. She instructed the helping man to call 9-1-1, and while he was speaking to emergency services, Biglow snagged her Naloxone kit she was carrying in her purse.
Following the training she received, Biglow sprayed the first injection of the opioid-blocking medication up the fallen man’s nose but to no initial avail.
It was after a second injection, however, that the man started to gasp for air. Biglow had done it. It was in this moment, she explained, that she “finally started to get some hope that this man might live to see another day.”
“This man was blue and completely unresponsive when I found him. After giving him the Naloxone, he finally started to fight for his life,” she added.
As they waited for the paramedics, Biglow told the now breathing man whose head and hand she was holding to “hang on” as help was on way and that he was not alone.
It was on this day, May 26, that Biglow saved the man’s life.
“Addict lives matter,” Jade Biglow told The Post, adding that “all lives matter.”
“If I didn’t have that Naloxone kit on me, this man wouldn’t have made it until the paramedics arrived,” Biglow explained. She emphasized that without her kit, the overdosed man would have died.
“Nalaxone does save lives,” she stated.
“This man was somebody’s somebody, and he is alive because of Naloxone.”
“This is also a prime example of why the injection sites are so important, Biglow said, emphasizing that “the opioid crisis at hand is very real, and people need to understand the importance of carrying these kits.”
Biglow told the Post that she did not understand why there was so much controversy around carrying the kits when they have “saved many lives in such a short time.”
“You never know when you’ll need a Naloxone kit — hopefully never– but personally, I would like to be prepared,” she explained. Naloxone kits can be picked up for free from most pharmacies in Guelph and from public health, and those that get one are also trained on how to use it.
Biglow argued that “these kits and injection sites are so important for this city”, and that saving even one life “it worth it”.
“We need to open our minds and hearts and come together as a community,” she said. As someone who has been in recovery for over two years, for Biglow, there is no such thing as a “lost cause”.
Some may consider Jade Biglow a hero for what she did, but the step-mother deflected that description, saying that “I don’t want attention, I want to see change.”
The Wellington Guelph Drug Strategy has reported recent rises in overdoses related to opioids amid a national opioid crisis that the Canadian government calls “devastating”.