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Nanaimo chiropractor hopes whale spine will educate, inspire

Nanaimo chiropractor Jerome Fryer has a whale of a tale to tell. Fryer, who recently set up practice on Dufferin Crescent, unveiled an approximately four-metre section of a spine from a blue whale in his office this week.
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Chiropractor Jerome Fryer stands with a section of whale spine in his office on Thursday. It was donated to him by a fisherman to use as an educational tool.

Nanaimo chiropractor Jerome Fryer has a whale of a tale to tell.

Fryer, who recently set up practice on Dufferin Crescent, unveiled an approximately four-metre section of a spine from a blue whale in his office this week.

He said the display features eight vertebrae from the tail section of a blue whale, which have a total of 56 vertabrae, that was given to him as a gift from a fisherman from Tofino in 2001 when Fryer was practising on the west coast.

Fryer said the fisherman hooked the whale's spine section in an area 60 kilometres offshore from Tofino that is well-known to local fishermen as a whale's graveyard due to the amount of whale bones that had been found in the area over the years.

"I kept it in boxes waiting until I had the office space to display the spine, and that opportunity arose when I set up office in the Pure Body Balance Health and Fitness Clinic," Fryer said.

"I had two questions when I was thinking on joining this clinic, and that's whether I would have windows in my office and would I have enough space to display my whale spine. When I was told I would have both, I decided to move in there."

But Fryer said it was no easy task to prepare the large whale spine, which is in many ways similar to a human spine except much bigger, for display in his office.

He said Mike DeRoos, the owner of Cetacia Contracting which was responsible for the installation of the blue whale skeleton that was put on display in the University of B.C. in 2010, took a year to prepare his spine for display.

"Each vertabrae is individually suspended so I use the display as an interactive tool to help explain to my patients about the spine and how it works.

"I'm hoping that it will not only be an educational tool, but an inspiration for new minds to enter into medicine as well."