Friends are pitching in, in many ways, to help a Langley pre-teen and his family, after he was run down by a hit-and-run driver earlier this fall.
A craft fair at Jesse Brown’s school last weekend helped raise more than $6,000 for the family. And just yesterday (Thursday), Katrina Quinn – the parent advisory council’s vice-president at the boy’s school – stepped up to help by launching a GoFundMe account.
The goal, she said, is to raised $100,000 to help the Brown family during Jesse’s “long road to recovery.”
Jesse was one of two pedestrians struck in Langley on Sept. 13, and police suspect it was the same vehicle and driver involved in both incidents. An 18-year-old was struck near Langley Secondary that same afternoon, but was treated and released.
However Jesse, was not so lucky. He was struck while walking home after school from Peterson Road Elementary that day, suffering multiple injuries and required 11-hour surgery.
“Jesse sustained life altering injuries that have resulted in the loss of three of his front teeth, vision in one eye, and feeling and movement in both legs. Therefore, Jesse is currently confined to a wheelchair for the unforeseeable future,” Quinn explained.
Since the incident, Jesse’s mother has been by his side 24/7 to support his recovery, and she’s consequently unable to work.
“Jesse is working hard every day to be able to return home in between his various types of therapy and rehabilitation,” Quinn said. “Unfortunately, the costs of retrofitting the family home for Jesse’s return are expensive, especially without his mother’s income.”
To help with the unexpected costs stemming from this incident, Quinn has set up the GoFundMe account, with a goal of $100,000. Just 24 hours into the fundraising drive she was admittedly “surprised” how quickly donations were coming in. They had 61 donors contributing more than $13,000 as of late Monday.
Several comments were also posted on the webpage, sentiments such as “sending prayers and love all around,” plus “thinking of you guys,” and “sending our best wishes for your recovery.”
“It reaffirms the faith I have in our school community, and our community outside of the school,” Quinn said. “That’s one thing I can confidently say about our town, about Langley, and just people in general, there’s goodness and they want to see Jesse up and healthy and recovered and back at school, and with his family and friends.”
Expressing gratitude for the “generous” donations, Quinn said she hopes to ease the financial burdens associated with this “unimaginable tragedy” while allowing the Brown family to focus their efforts on Jesse’s rehabilitation and recovery.
The kindness and outreach has extended beyond the financial aid, she elaborated.
Immediately after the incident, parents at Peterson Road Elementary kicked into what Quinn called “Mom mode” and organized a meal chain that took care of most of the family’s nutritional need for many weeks. Many of those same people are still working with the Brown family now, in an effort to retrofit the Brown’s home to accommodate Jesse’s current disabilities.
“Jesse is looking forward to being back home with friends and family. While Jesse concentrates on his rehabilitation, we would like to start preparing his home for when he returns from the rehabilitation centre,” she said.
“We have many families, many hands that want to help,” Quinn elaborated, noting offers are coming not only from within the school community, but from throughout Langley – from individuals and businesses alike.
“I know how loving and supportive our school community is, and I think everyone can empathize with what the Brown family is going through,” Quinn said. “I truly believe in the good of society, people are good at heart, and they want to see Jesse recover and up and running as soon as possible.”
She describes Jesse as a “kind young man with a fantastic sense of humour” who is well liked by his peers and missed by his classmates at Peterson Road Elementary.
Beyond reaching out to help the family through the GoFundMe webpage, others wanting to contribute in different ways can email details to the PAC president Kristy Sayers, via firstname.lastname@example.org.