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Woman with brain tumour credits TTC operator with saving her life

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When Michele- Marie Beer felt dizzy sitting on the streetcar on her way home from a Blue Jays game last month, she said she brushed it off.

“I had been having dizzy spells that I was chalking up to something else,” she told CTV News Toronto on Thursday.

Beer said she had fallen earlier in the year and assumed it was the after effects of the concussion she had suffered.

But when streetcar operator Monique Blake noticed Beer’s hands trembling, she said she knew something was very wrong.

“I just told her to sit down and we are going to call and get her some help. She was just so concerned about the other patrons, not wanting to hold up the line,” Blake told Newstalk 1010 on Thursday.

“My mom is actually is a retired nurse and before she retired she worked at a seniors’ home. Coming home from work she would sometimes mention that her patients that had brain trauma, then tend to have like a little bit of a tremor… It was just a trigger when I saw the shaking. I just went back to a conversation that I had with my mom.”

Blake asked Beer to wait on the streetcar until paramedics arrived to do a medical assessment.

“She saw me when a lot of people hadn’t seen what I was going through, even myself. I was blowing it off as something else,” Beer said.

Beer was promptly taken to hospital, where she was later diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumor that had developed behind her eye. She immediately underwent emergency surgery to remove the tumor and is now recovering.

Beer, who was released from the hospital this week, was reunited with Blake on Thursday at Toronto city hall, where the TTC employee was being recognized for her quick action that day.

“I woke up (after the surgery) and I was like I need to find her and I need to thank her and I need to make sure that she gets honoured… for seeing me and saving my life,” Beer said of Blake, who she described as a “new lifelong friend.”

Blake, who has been on the job for just 10 months, said she believes she did what any other TTC employee would have done in the situation.

“We are taught in training particularly to pay attention to our passengers and if you see anyone in need, it is our responsibility to reach out and get them the help that they need,” she said.

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