Friends band together to help injured pal in hospital

Friends of a Cowichan Valley boy are working hard to help his family as he recovers from injury.

"Our children’s close friend Gage Polsom was injured in a serious bike accident a few weeks ago and is at the Children’s Hospital in Vancouver," Nadine Gendall wrote to the Citizen.

The 10-year-old was camping with his grandparents at the beginning of summer, she said.

"As he was out riding his bike on the first night of camping he took a bad fall and the handlebars went into his abdomen and he’s ripped his pancreas. He’s been in there [in hospital] over a month already. He’s got a really long way to go and my children as well as their best friends were just distraught, couldn’t figure out what to do, how to help.

"First they were going to sell some lemonade but then they started going through the house and decided to organize a garage sale. They spent this last weekend organizing it, getting it all together and selling everything they could.

"It was all done so quickly because they didn’t even know till now that Gage had been hurt. He’s friends with my son; they play hockey together. We just wondered where the heck he was," she said.

From that, the huge fundraising effort has been born.

"Out of their little garage sale, and spreading the world on social media, they’ve just started a huge wave of support. Now, we’re going to have a few different fundraisers going on for Gage and his family," she said.

Next up is a burger and beer night on Tuesday, July 29 starting at 6 p.m. at the Black Swan in Shawnigan Lake, accompanied by a silent auction. Tickets are expected to sell quickly and support has been "overwhelming." "However, people can just come to support it as well that evening. If they want to make donations or set up a basket to help Gage, that is possible, too."

Gendall and a friend took some of Gage’s best friends to the hospital Vancouver on Tuesday in hopes that a visit would lift his spirits a little bit.

By Tuesday night, she was able to report on the Facebook page: "We took a trip to visit and we’re so happy to see him making progress. It was such an uplifting day," she wrote. "Honestly, he was having a good day and made it so that they could just hang. He even kicked the grown-ups out so they could just play."

Gendall said she’s been astonished at the response from the people to the fundraising efforts.

"I spent the weekend in tears and they were tears of joy. I can’t believe how many people came out to rally support for Gage. He is really one of those little guys who’s completely memorable from the second you meet him.

"But, you know, the boys and their sisters decided they had to do something. They just couldn’t sit back knowing that the family needed help."

If you’re interested in joining the effort, check out a Facebook page Gendall has created entitled "Help for Gage Polsom".

"We’re also trying to organize a three-on-three hockey event because he’s such a connected member of the Kerry Park Islanders. He’s the heart of any team he’s on," Gendall said. "He’s just one of those kids," she said.

So far, the fundraising has gone well, according to Gendall.

"We’re not disclosing the amount we raised but we had complete strangers leave $50s and $100s for Gage. We had two little boys from his hockey show up with the entire contents of their piggy banks," she shared tearfully.

"It’s been something. We live in a great place. I said to my husband: I don’t think we can ever leave. I want to live in a place where I know that, if anything should happen, people are this amazing."