Two Okanagan residents in hospitals far from home have turned to GoFundMe.com to cover medical bills, lost income and transport back to the Valley.
On June 29, Abby Kimmel, 12, of Kelowna was traumatically injured in an ATV accident in Fort St. John.
When the ATV Abby was riding flipped, she was pinned under it, unable to breath.
By the time she was rescued, she was in a coma and flown to a Vancouver hospital for treatment.
She remains in a coma, has critical swelling of the brain and is battling for her life.
Abby has seven brothers and sisters, and her parents are by her hospital bed in Vancouver.
Her dad is the sole provider for the family and he’s unable to work while he remains by her bedside.
Abby’s aunt, Christine Dick of Fort St. John, launched a GoFundMe.com campaign three days ago to raise money to help cover family expenses.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the effort had raised $18,200 toward the goal of $25,000.
“We ask that you help in holding up this family financially and in your prayers,” said Dick.
“We thank all supporters for their kindness and prayers. All funds will be directly going to Abby’s mom (Elvira Kimmel).”
Currently, 179 people have made donations, including Kailee Thorne of Kelowna, who pitched in $50.
“Stay positive. My husband suffered three brain aneurysms on Easter weekend. He was flown to Vancouver where he was in a medically induced coma for two weeks,” said Thorne.
“The doctors and nurses there are fantastic. Today our family is back together at home and Ryan only suffers short-term memory loss that can be rehabilitated. The power of prayers and positive thoughts made all the difference to us. We are thinking of your family and hope this small donation can help in some way.”
More than 400 people have shared the GoFundMe.com Abby page on their social media, and 196 were following for updates on Abby’s condition and the fundraising progress.
“They are a wonderful family and we want to help out,” said Greg Harris of the Kimmels.
“Praying for you all.”
Harris donated $250.
This 33-year-old Vernon man was using a guide rope on a steep decline to a Portuguese beach when he fell 18 metres.
He did not have travel insurance.
In the fall, he wrecked his foot, and broke his pelvis, tailbone and several vetebrae.
Initially, it was feared the foot may have to be amputated, but Araujo has since had surgery on it, and Portuguese doctors now believe he’ll be able to walk on the foot again after a followup operation and rehabilitation.
Matthew’s parents, Luiz and Janet Araujo, have rushed to Portugal to be at his bedside.
Both Luiz and Janet live and work at Predator Ridge Golf Resort, where Luiz is a home checker, Block Watch captain and FireSmart organizer, and Janet works at Sotheby’s Realty.
“He is in extreme agony,” said Ann Tindlay Andrews, who organized the GoFundMe.com campaign to help Matthew.
“Once he’s stable, they (Luiz and Janet) are hoping to air-ambulance him home for further treatment here in B.C. Their friends and neighours are launching this GoFundMe page to help bring Matthew back home.”
The GoFundMe.com campaign started five days ago and has raised $36,600 toward a $50,000 goal.
Donations have been made by 223 people, including $1,000 from Carlos Silva.
“May God help you, cousin,” said Silva.
“Our blood is the same and it will always be. Be with God and wish you to recover as soon as possible.”
Matthew’s GoFundMe.com page has also been shared by 672 people on their social media, and 229 are following the page to receive updates.
“As a parent, I can certainly appreciate the difficult circumstances this family is currently facing and I want to help,” said K. Delmonico, who donated $50.
“I have also been injured while travelling in Europe and spent time in a hospital there, so can certainly understand the situation they face.”