Grant Cruickshank is certain that his cottage saved his life.
After running a successful tool business with his wife Sheri for 25 years, Grant was diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm, a severe heart condition that worsens with stress. For the next four years, Grant planned for his retirement, eventually selling both his company and house in Midhurst, Ontario. But by that time, his seven-days-a-week job had taken its toll on his heart, and unless his lifestyle changed dramatically, surgery was imminent. If the bulge in his heart grew one millimetre more, Grant would have to go under the knife.
Shortly after, he and Sheri moved to their cottage, a three-bedroom bungalow on Paudash Lake that’s been in Grant’s family since the 1950s.
The couple cross-country skied and swam in the lake, and although strict doctor’s orders restricted Grant from water skiing like he had in the past, the couple took up wake surfing. They also both found jobs with Parks Ontario, which gave them the winters off. Moving to the cottage was a life changer and Grant noticed an overall improvement in his health almost immediately after.
Then in 2013, five years after the initial warning, his aortic aneurysm grew that final millimetre. But because he was able to delay the surgery for the past five years, a scientific breakthrough had changed the surgery, and would make his recovery much easier and safer.
Months later, Grant is now fully recovered, which means he can travel again and yes, even water ski. While many people have a special relationship with their cottage, Grant insists that he owes his life to his.