A Vancouver Island couple is thanking the community for its support following a close call earlier this summer.
Scott Thompson was camping near Campbell River when he was in a serious dirt biking accident on June 22. He broke all the ribs on the left side of his body, suffering a lacerated spleen and a collapsed lung.
It was a “pretty good crash” says Thompson, who is back home in Campbell River with his girlfriend Madison Ortman and their two dogs and two cats.
“It’s been going good for the last few months now,” he says. “I’ve been healing up pretty well.”
Thompson was in a medically induced coma for five days at the Victoria General Hospital where he underwent surgeries to have his spleen removed, his lung reinflated and his ribs repaired. He was in hospital for 10 days and has been recuperating at home with Ortman and their animals.
Ortman says their dog Diesel was so happy to see them home that he wagged his butt so much he fell over.
“The dogs were actually quite stoked,” says Thompson. “Our pit bull Diesel wanted to jump up right away but he could tell I was hurting.”
Thompson spent his first night home sleeping on the couch with a dish rack wedged into the back for support. Ortman slept next to him on cushions on the floor.
While the sleeping arrangements weren’t ideal, the couple was happy to be home and back in a community that had supported them.
“I don’t know what I would have done without everybody because that was a rough week,” Ortman says of their time in Victoria. “The love and support and all the messages kept me going.”
When Thompson was in the hospital, their friend Alexis Cawdell started a crowdfunding campaign to help take the financial burden off the couple. It’s received more than $7,000 from about 100 donors.
When Thompson was first injured, Ortman, who works full-time and attends school part-time, was unsure of how she would make ends meet.
“Thankfully we’ve been able to keep our feet under us,” she says.
Members of the community stepped up for them, bringing meals by and supporting them financially. A local business even donated dog food.
At first Ortman couldn’t bear to look at her social media accounts, but the day she gave consent for Thompson to have his ribs plated, she was really struggling. Cawdell showed her the GoFundMe page.
“I was just brought to tears because that weight had just been lifted off of me,” she says. “I didn’t have to worry about school or anything like that. I could just worry about him getting better.”
When Thompson woke up and heard about the fundraising effort he said he was emotional.
“It damn near brought me to tears realizing how many people are out there to help and support me,” he says.
Neither Ortman nor Thompson grew up in Campbell River, but after living here for four and six years respectively, they’re reminded why they now call the community home.
“Everybody here has just reminded me of why I stayed,” says Ortman. “Family isn’t necessarily blood, it’s who you choose.”