Rescuers Honored for Saving Local Woman

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

March 1, 2006

Here is one amazing recovery story, a bicyclist was struck by a car last spring and may not have survived without the help of rescue workers.

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors honored rescue staff from seven different agencies that worked together to save the life of the local woman.

"I just thank them from the bottom of my heart. They're such wonderful, dedicated, skilled people and I just owe my life to them and I can't thank them enough," said Janet Cheeseman who was struck by a car while riding her bike.

Janet and her husband were enjoying a bike ride May 27 of last year when she was hit on Stony Point Road near Gilbert Station Road.

"Janet was scheduled to give blood that afternoon at 3:00. As it turned out, she was the recipient of seven units of blood," explained Charles Cheeseman, her husband.

Rescue workers were on scene within minutes and she was airlifted by Pegasus not long after.

"There's a golden hour when we talk about trauma, like automobile accidents or cycling accidents like that, the goal is to have that person at the level one trauma center within the hour. So not only did we beat that hour, but we cut it in half, less than 30 minutes," said Chief Dan Eggleston of Albemarle County Fire and Rescue.

29 Minutes to be exact. They were so successful that Cheeseman was able to walk to the podium to thank her saviors.

"I'm almost totally recovered, I'm just working on the range of motion with my knee and walking more steadily without the limp," Cheeseman said.

While the helmet she was wearing helped save her life, it was the rescue workers that really gave her another chance.

"I'm extremely proud. I feel very honored to work with such a very qualified group of people and I wake up every day feeling very fortunate to be a part of this group. It makes me very proud," said Chief Eggleston.

The accident was a good 15 miles through back roads from UVA Medical Center, but by Pegasus only took five minutes. The rescue agencies involved were from Charlottesville, Albemarle, and UVA.

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