When nine-year-old Tristan was vacationing with his family in Mexico, little did he know that his best friend Nico had been hit by a truck on 29 Avenue in Aldergrove, right in front of his house.
On any other day, Tristan would have been walking with him. That’s what best friends do.
Given the lack of marked crosswalks on 29 Avenue, it’s not surprising that something like this would happen – and it did. On Friday, Feb. 3, the nine-year old boy was walking home from school when he found himself in the path of a pick-up truck driven by a local mother. Nico sustained severe injuries and was airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, where he remains.
Tristan has since returned home from Mexico and will celebrate his 10th birthday on Saturday, Feb. 18 without Nico being present. When discussing his party plans with his family, Tristan announced that he didn’t want anyone to bring him presents. Instead, he wanted guests to bring donations so he could create a fund to help his friend.
Tristan's mother, Frankie Gassler, immediately called on her friends and family to support Tristan and his wishes.
“It was so hard to be so far away enjoying a vacation when news of this got to us,” said Gassler.
“Tristan couldn’t wait to get home to see for himself how his friend was doing. We’ve since learned the gravity of Nico’s injuries and that he will be in hospital for months to come. It’s devastating for the family and I’m so proud of my son for wanting to help his friend.”
A trust fund has been set up with TD Canada Trust and those who wish to contribute are asked to help Tristan help Nico and his family.
“The boy’s mother has had to quit her job as a payroll administrator to provide round-the-clock care for her son while being a single parent to his three siblings. I can’t imagine what she is going through and what still lies ahead,” said Gassler.
In the spirit of community, Aldergrove’s Save-On-Foods has donated Tristan’s birthday cake and the money his family would have paid for it is being added to the fund.
“I can’t thank the community and friends of my son enough for all they are doing to help us through this incredibly difficult time”, said Justina Pike, mother of the injured boy.
She continues, “Life can change in an instant. It’s the call that every mother dreads and the last thing I need on my mind is the worry of where survival money is going to come from in the meantime.”
This fundraiser is one of several in the community for the Pike family. Parents Advisory Councils at Aldergrove schools have also raised considerable sums, says PAC member Tracy Olley.
If you would like to make a contribution to help Nico’s family, the TD Canada Trust information is: “Nico Trust” c/o Justina Pike, Acct #6361303 Branch 9035.