First and foremost, Gone Country is a charity fundraiser.
Secondly, it’s a day-long summer country music concert that a pair of Langley twins Chris and Jamie Ruscheinski put on for 6,000 of their ‘friends’.
One of those “very special friends” and a Gone Country volunteer – who was in attendance Saturday – is Aldergrove’s Matt Reisig – who has since been given some help after the charity concert raised a record-breaking $822,000.
Given the record-breaking fundraising achievement, Chris announced Tuesday that Gone Country is extending its purview “to help out Matt and Ashley.”
So, unbeknownst to the Reisigs, the twins are expecting to deliver a cheque later this week “that will help them with a backlog of bills” that have been piling up since Reisig was first hospitalized.
“Volunteers are important to us. They’re the life blood of Gone Country, and we feel a real need to take care of our own,” Chris said.
Last year Reisigs took it a step further than volunteering and donated supplies, built, and painted a series of chalkboards that are integral to the music event – boards where guests write a direct message to cancer.
“So, when we saw their need, we knew we had to step up. It means a lot that we can help,” Chris added.
Reisig was hospitalized back on March 1, after a typical bout with the flu turned ugly.
He suffered almost complete paralysis, losing most of his motor skills, except slight head, shoulder and face movements.
He was then diagnosed with a neurological condition called Gullain-Barre syndrome, and had to be intubated in order to breathe because of lost pulmonary function.
The once fit and active man spent the next 13 weeks on life-support.
Thankfully, he’s now on the mend. Off a ventilator that doctor’s once feared would be permanent, he is recovering well – making huge strides in regaining his mobility, shared his wife, Ashley.
Not able to lift his arms over his head yet, he won’t be back at work painting houses any time soon, she joked. But he was moved to intense rehabilitation in late June and came home Tuesday.
He also was able to walk unassisted upon returning home, his wife said.
About a month ago, Reisig started to regain significant movement, and two weeks ago he was able to pick up his young daughter and hold her in his arms – a first in almost half a year and something he once feared might never be possible again.
Since then, he’s been pushing himself – his wife and their 18-month-old daughter Ayla being his primary motivators to getting better.
“His recovery since then has been non-stop,” Ashley said, still impressed by his progress.
READ MORE: Paralyzed fathers condition now stabilizing
Before he even graduated to rehab, Reisig became adamant he would be attending Gone Country 2019, Ashley said. He did make it.
The 32-year-old father was “broken out” of the care facility for a few hours this past weekend to attend the seventh annual Gone Country – Here for the Cure held in Cloverdale.
To say he was looking forward to the adventure – albeit from the confines of a wheelchair – was an understatement, he admitted to Black Press Media during the concert.