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Remembering a special paramedic

'When the powers that be give you lemons make lemonade and I will see you at my stand'
2022 johnny bertrand
Longtime paramedic Johnny Bertrand passed away on January 22, 2022.

The paramedic community in Nipissing and Parry Sound is mourning the passing of one of their own. 

Johnny Bertrand, a popular paramedic passed away on January 22 after suffering through a long battle with a rare genetic disease called CADASIL (Cerebral Autosomal Dominant Arteriopathy with Subcortical Infarcts and Leukoencephalopathy)

He passed away at the young age of 52. 

Steve Asselin, a longtime paramedic at Nipissing District EMS, first met Bertrand when he was his trainer 26 years ago. 

He says Bertrand impacted many lives in both Nipissing and Parry Sound as he spent the final years of his career with Parry Sound EMS before leaving the profession in 2018 due to his illness. 

"Johnny had a lot of different groups of friends like most people have one or two best friends, but Johnny had that with a lot of different people," said Asselin about Bertand who was an Ecole secondaire Algonquin graduate. 

Despite the fact that CADASIL had created horrible migraines and damaged his cognitive functions, Bertrand still tried to keep a positive attitude even in his final days. 

"A week before he died he made a video; his speech was slurred a bit, but he said, 'when the powers that be give you lemons make lemonade and I will see you at my stand,' and he had a hat and a sign made," said Asselin. 

It was not surprising that even through death a man who spent his life helping save others would want to continue that trend by his organ donations. 

"For a living, he did help people and obviously in death, he was able to do that and give those organs and probably save two or three lives," said Asselin. 

"It was tough to watch somebody who has been so active in his life. He had a carefree attitude and he could get along with anybody but even in death the gift of life was involved."

Johnny will be greatly missed by his friends, co-workers along with his partner Deanna Dewar, and daughters Ava and Sophie Bertrand. 

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Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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