Photo contributed                                Stef McKinnon was badly hurt in a crash on Feb. 25 and friends and family are raising money to help.

Photo contributed Stef McKinnon was badly hurt in a crash on Feb. 25 and friends and family are raising money to help.

Fundraiser helps friend in need

A fundraising effort is well underway to help a Sicamous woman who received serious injuries in a recent motor-vehicle accident.

On Feb. 28, Deane Marchand set up Stay Strong Stef on GoFundMe, an Internet fundraiser for Stef Rae McKinnon.

McKinnon, 29, has been in hospital in Kamloops since Feb. 25, when the vehicle she was driving was hit by an oncoming van that had crossed the centre line into her lane.

As of March 6, 98 people had donated to the GoFundMe account, bringing the total within about $500 of its current $10,000 goal.

Marchand is thrilled by this, and hopes it will surpass the goal, recognizing the long-term need of her friend and co-worker.

“She just got out of the ICU (intensive care unit) which is good, but she still has to undergo quite a few surgeries on her foot, on her right foot,” said Marchand.

According to Marchand, McKinnon’s injuries include two broken legs, carotid artery damage in her neck and a cracked skull, as well as a damaged foot, for which she’s already received at least two surgeries.

Despite all this, Marchand met with McKinnon late last week and said she’s in good spirits.

“She’s OK – she’s not dwelling on what possibilities could happen,” said Marchand. “She’s not upset at anyone because this happened. She’s taking it pretty good.

“The only part that she didn’t take that well is her foot isn’t doing that great. She only has a 20 to 40 per cent chance of saving it. But that could change, so we’re just keeping positive and hoping for the best.”

Marchand has worked with McKinnon at Joe Schmuck’s Roadhouse for about four years. She describes McKinnon as a sweet, fun, sometimes feisty person who is good with people, loves what she does for a living, and enjoys the outdoors by bike and snowboard in her free time.

“She’s a great friend. She makes you laugh,” said Marchand.

Marchand said McKinnon still faces multiple surgeries and will be in the hospital for a while. This is why she’s set up the GoFundMe account – to help with personal expenses as she goes through treatment and recovery.

“It might seems like she’s in good spirits now but, unfortunately, things change when it gets harder and harder,” acknowledged Marchand. “She’s just at the beginning of what she’s going to have to go through.”

Marchand is both surprised and grateful for the outpouring of love and support Sicamous has shown her friend. She says another fundraiser is in the works that may include an auction and a dance.

“I’d like to thank everybody for what they’ve done and what they are doing,” said Marchand. “I just couldn’t believe it… how much everybody helps and goes out of their way, it’s really amazing.”

Stay Strong Stef can be found at www.gofundme.com/stay-strong-stef.