Ryan Dueck recovers after artificial-disc replacement surgery in Hattingen, Germany. Courtesy Ryan Dueck

Family, friends rally to pay for man’s state-of-the-art spine surgery

WINNIPEG, MB—The fitness centre director at Youth for Christ (YFC) Winnipeg is recovering after undergoing state-of-the-art surgery in Germany to correct a spine injury that left him with neck and back mobility issues as well as daily discomfort.

Ryan Dueck says that while the surgery he underwent this past November was painful, the throbbing he felt from damage to his C4-C7 vertebrae he suffered during a pick-up game of football more than four years ago went away immediately.

“I keep waiting for [the pain] to come back and it hasn’t yet,” Dueck told ChristianWeek at the beginning of January.

Dueck and his wife, Jennifer Toogood, travelled to the ONZ clinic in Hattingen, Germany, one of the only places in the world that offers artificial-disc replacement surgery. Dueck and Toogood raised the $40,000 needed to fund the trip and procedure by organizing a dessert fundraiser, a dinner, radiothon, and an online fundraiser. Approximately 800 people contributed in total.

Dueck says he was humbled by people’s contributions.

“It’s a reminder of how generous people are. It’s a total act of God and a total act of generosity on the part of the people.”

If all goes well, Dueck could be back at YFC in March. He graduated with a degree in kinesiology from the University of Manitoba, where he played football for the Bisons. He says he couldn’t ask for a better job than the one he has, as it combines his passions for ministry, fitness and working with young people.

In the meantime, Dueck is recovering at home and thankful for the support he has received.

“I always like to comment on how grateful I am to everybody who contributed … and how much glory I give to God for this,” he says. “It would be ignorant to say I got lucky. This is a modern-day miracle.”

X-ray of Dueck's repaired vertebrae.
X-ray of Dueck's repaired vertebrae.

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About the author

Special to ChristianWeek

Aaron Epp is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer, Musical Routes columnist, and former Senior Correspondent for ChristianWeek.

About the author