Calgary family search for healthcare heroes after long weekend roadside crash

On August 1, the Mirza family was heading home to Calgary after being at a wedding. They were just outside Olds, Alberta on the QE 2 when their eldest son, 18-year-old Humza, started getting a bad migraine, got dizzy and started to lose control of their SUV.

“We were swerving and I was hard correcting but the momentum pushed us and we hit the ditch and rolled and I hit my head on the steering wheel,” Humza said.

His younger brother, 14-year-old Imaad was traveling in the passenger seat.

Read more: Alberta government creates more EMS positions, but union says it’s not enough

“We flipped a couple of times and then I turned to my brother and saw where he hit his head and I was screaming ‘stay calm,’” Imaad said.

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Their mom, Gulnaz and younger sister Aleeza were in the back seat.

Imaad, Aleeza and Humza Mirza. Jill Croteau/Global News

“I remember waking up 10 seconds before it happened and I saw Humza swerving and my mom yelling his name,” Aleeza said. “I might have blacked out and I woke up upside down.”

The three siblings, along with two other family members, were in shock. Their father, Mohammed was driving separately about an hour behind them.

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“It felt like an intense dream. Was this real and I was thinking, is this actually happening?” Aleeza said.

“My life flashed before my eyes and I was thinking about the kids and didn’t know what was happening,” Gulnaz said.

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“We were upside down and all I could think, where are my kids?”

Gulnaz Mirza. Jill Croteau/Global News

When they came to a stop upside down, they were in shock and within moments they heard a voice.

“He said, ‘I’m a paramedic, I can help you. We will get you out,’” Gulnaz recalled.

On duty first responders arrived on scene shortly after rollover. Courtesy: Mirza Family

In the chaos, they didn’t take down his contact information, only remembering the responder said his name was Ben and they said he had an Australian accent. The off-duty paramedic never left their side.

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Read more: Alberta crash survivor shares message to reduce distracted driving

“I will never forget him and I just want to say thank you,” Gulnaz said. “It was so comforting to have him there.”

Another stranger who showed up at the roadside was a nurse.

“It was truly a blessing, almost fate,” Aleeza said.

“There was so many people there, bringing us water and it amazes me there are genuine good people in this world,” Aleeza said.

SUV on its roof following crash. Courtesy: Mirza Family

“We were just very lucky a paramedic and a nurse were behind us, it could have been anyone else,” Imaad said.

Together they treated the family before responding emergency crews arrived. The off duty paramedic and nurse were able to help stabilize Humza, who was going in and out of consciousness.

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Responding paramedics along with other helpful bystanders helped family. Courtesy: Mirza Family

“I just want to say I’m thankful you guys pulled over and saved us,” Humza said.

“I’m very overprotective and I panic, and in that moment, just the calmness that nurse had for me and while the paramedic held my son’s head, she held my hand,” Gulnaz said.

The family is recovering physically but say it would be truly healing to reunite with those health care heroes and thank them in person.

“Those reassuring words that it’s going to be okay were a godsend,” Gulnaz said.

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