A man from N.S. brain injury at risk of losing home and farm he calls ‘paradise’ – Halifax


A Nova Scotia man used to fighting fires is now struggling to stay afloat financially.

Jason Oliver has a brain injury that has rendered him unable to work. he now risks losing his home and his hobby farm.

Oliver, a volunteer firefighter with the Summerville Fire Department, spends much of his time outdoors with his seven goats and two cows, Archie and Edith, on his small farm on his property in Summerville, Nova Scotia .

With birds chirping and deer wandering around frequently, he calls it his little piece of « paradise. »

« I love animals, » he told Global News. « It’s peaceful, relaxing – good for the mind. »

A spirit on the mend following a traumatic brain injury, acquired during a motorcycle accident last July.

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« He texted me at work and said he was having a great day, going slow, taking it easy and the boys were really good to him. And the next call that I received was from his best friend, Ryan,” his partner Deborah Duder said, fighting back tears.

Jason Oliver at QEII Hospital in Halifax following a life-changing motorcycle accident in July 2021.

Tanya Shewchuk/Supplied

“They found him in a ravine, south of Rawdon Road and LifeFlight was coming. So I went straight to the hospital…. His brain was full of fluid, his adrenal glands had burst and he was bleeding.

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She said Oliver had had multiple surgeries and doctors weren’t sure he would pull through. But Oliver defied odds and after a two-month stay in hospital he was well enough to return home, although his road to recovery was far from over.

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« It was difficult, » she said. « He can’t work, of course, and my working hours have been much shorter because I have to stay at home a lot more. »

She added that the bills are piling up and the couple are behind on their mortgage.

“We are afraid for them (the animals) sometimes, so that puts pressure on us. So we are doing what we can to get out of it. »

The couple are now on the verge of losing their home and hobby farm, which has been a therapeutic sanctuary for Oliver on his healing journey.

The couple had also hoped to one day turn the farm into a place where others could also visit to find peace and relaxation.

« I think that’s where Jason’s love lies and where his future should be, » Duder said.

« These animals, every morning when he wakes up, it gives him purpose. It makes his life full.

Jason Oliver with his goat, Gilly.

Tanya Shewchuk/Supplied

That’s why their longtime friend Tanya Shewchuk is doing what she can to help.

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She said she’s known Oliver for eight years and seeing his struggle has been « really hard ».

“Their sorrows are mine, their difficulties are mine,” she said.

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Oliver’s accident happened just a year after Shewchuk lost his daughter, Abbigail Cowbrough, in a military helicopter crash. She is now raising money through the Abbigail Cowbrough Foundation to help Oliver and Duder save their property from foreclosure.

« I really want to be able to help them keep their farm and do something with it and help other people in our community as well, » she said.

Duder said the money raised will go a long way.

“It’s mainly to make this farm work. It’s not really for us, but in the long run it’s because they are us.

“We want to share what we love. Jason had a horrible accident and as a first responder I think he deserves help. He is the first to help someone else and that he can continue to love his animals and keep them at home, I think that is enough.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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