It Takes More Than a Pick Up Truck To Stop Liz Schamehorn

By John Swartz

There are times when you hear about things happening in town, and I hear about a lot from the OPP, but most times a lot of details are missing. From an OPP email notification I knew someone got hit by a pickup truck last Wednesday morning, on West Street near the bypass.

Then later Thursday evening or Friday morning I learned Liz Schamehorn got hit by a vehicle and was in the hospital – sent to Sunnybrook for treatment. I kind of thought maybe this was related to the Wednesday morning report, but didn’t get confirmation it was until the weekend.  That’s when the shock (if you want to call it that) of how this could affect many people involved in the arts here. Liz is in the higher echelon of visual artists and she has been a member of the Cellar Singers for years. So many people know Liz and so many artists look up to her as a standard to try to be as good as.

By the weekend her daughter Jennifer and daughter-in-law Crystal were giving updates on Liz’s Facebook page. Each day brought more good news, which really was a relief to read. I don’t know if any of you have been hit by a truck, I’ve had some injuries, but never caused by a truck, and I can’t imagine how bad it could be.

Actually, I was imagining how bad it could be. Getting hit by a car is never good, and usually life changing. Liz had many broken bones, including both wrists – several breaks between her wrist and elbow, the humerus (I didn’t clarify if this was all on one arm) – some ribs and her left tibia, but the surgeries to repair them were so good her doctors believe she’ll heal well.

Liz Schamehorn

“I‘m very lucky my head, neck and spine are OK,” Liz said.

I spoke with Liz Thursday afternoon. It took many calls before I caught her. I said, “You must be very busy?” considering how many times I hit voicemail.

“You would not believe how busy I am,” she said.

You can hear from the tone of her voice she’s coming back very quickly. I don’t know if I could laugh at anything after getting remodelled like that, or even sound cheery, but she did and was, even after two surgeries

“They put the whole thing together with some plates and pins,” she said.

Her children have been updating Facebook pages with Liz’s recovery. I said I could tell by the sound of her voice she was either on some really good pain killers (this got a good laugh) or she was sounding so positive and optimistic because she’s healing so well.

“I’m staying positive, and they have really good meds here,” she said.

By the time you read this Liz should be back in Orillia at Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital.

“They came in and said they are moving me at 1:30 in the morning,” she said. So late because of less traffic? “I don’t mind, I’ll just sleep all the way up,” Liz said.

Liz remembers a lot of detail about the accident, including what a woman who was helping was wearing. There was a bit of scuttlebutt on social media the driver didn’t stop.

“I heard that too, he did not leave the scene.”

“I just left our car at the garage, it was going to be about an hour and I thought I’ll walk down to Hermie’s Diner and get some breakfast. I was crossing West Street at the bus stop. Somebody came out of the parking lot,” and hit her she said.

With the daily positive updates and doctors saying everything will heal OK, I had to ask, “did they tell you you’d be able to play the piano?”

This got a great laugh, and then she said the reports she’ll recover well are correct.

“Oh yeah, there’s no reason why it won’t. You can see it getting better every day. It is remarkable what they do here.”

Of course, no one plans for something like this and it can disrupt other plans.

“I‘m supposed to be in Scotland right now, with Lorna Bolden. We were going to a music workshop in the Orkney Islands. I’m pretty sad about that.”

Her children are also worried about their father. Dan had a fall a few years ago which has left him in a wheelchair. James has been spending nights with Dan when work allows, and Jennifer and Crystal have been organizing people to make meals for Dan. Both cases still need a little help and you can get in touch with Jennifer, James or Crystal if you can pitch in by way of a Facebook page they set up.

You can send a message to Liz at

I closed our conversation by saying how relieved I was she sounded so upbeat despite how difficult her life will be for the next while.

“If you’re in here and you’re being miserable, it’s not going to help you,” she said.

(Photos Submitted) Main: Liz and Jennifer Schamehorn at Sunnybrook Hospital.

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