Two hundred people turned out at the Opeongo Senior’s Centre in Barry’s Bay Saturday to support the fundraiser for the Mike and Gavin Recoskie family. The event raised over $7,000 for the father and son who were seriously injured on January 20 in an Algonquin Park accident.

Barry’s Bay – A fundraising dinner Saturday evening hosted by an anonymous group in the village has raised $7,000 to assist the Mike Recoskie family.

Mr. Recoskie, 44, and his son, Gavin, 15, were seriously injured in a two-vehicle collision in Algonquin Park on January 23 of this year that claimed the life of the other motorist from Ottawa.

Mr. Recoskie and his son were both airlifted to different hospitals in Toronto with extensive injuries and Saturday’s fundraiser was organized shortly afterwards to assist with expenses.

The fundraiser was organized by the “Valley Kindness Squad (VKS)”, a small group of residents from the community who coordinated and hosted the event. A spokesperson for the VKS said they wish to remain anonymous, adding this is the first undertaking for them.

“But the squad could strike again,” the spokesperson noted.

They said approximately 200 people attended the fundraiser that ran from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Opeongo Senior’s Centre, which had been donated for the event.

“It was donation-only spaghetti dinner,” they said. “We’re very grateful and appreciative of the donation.

“After expenses, we’re just a smidgen over $7,000,” they added, noting all the funds are going directly to the Recoskie family.

People started arriving around 3:30 and it kind of trickled off about 6:30, it was noted.

Some of the food was donated and all the desserts were made and donated by members of the community. Costs of the advertising and other expenses were also covered by sponsors.

“Roughly 80 per cent of the food costs were covered,” the spokesperson said. “We’re so grateful for the community support.”

Update On Conditions

Shelley Maika, whose sister, Becky, is Mr. Recoskie’s partner, provided a brief update on his condition.

“To this point, Mike has had multiple surgeries,” she said. “He has been out of the coma (medically induced) for two weeks.”

She said the first week he was at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto he was on 13 different machines that were literally keeping him alive. As of last week, his feeding tube was removed and he is now on only one machine.

“They’ve slowly started introducing him to soft foods and broth and that kind of things, which is great,” she said.

“There will be more surgeries to come, and there’s no date even being discussed as to when he might be released from hospital,” she explained. “The goal of his healthcare team is to get him more recovered and in a stronger, more stable condition, to the point where he can be moved, at some point, to Ottawa, which is closer for the family.”

She said he will require extensive therapy after his release, adding they have him trying to sit up now; her sister is a PSW and is helping him with some of the therapy.

As for Gavin, he returned to class at Opeongo High School on Monday. His mother, Erin, told The Leader Monday he had been released from Sick Kids in Toronto, on February 25 after being hospitalized the night of the crash five weeks earlier.

“We spent a couple extra days in Toronto so he could have some visits with his dad,” she explained, adding it was the first time they had seen each other in person since the accident.

She said it was obviously a very emotional reunion for the two as they thought about how each other were doing, relying only on the information that was being shared to them.

“I think they were both very happy to see one another. They’d both be kind of keeping track, to some extent, of where they each were in terms of their recovery and where they were at . . . and they were both worried about each other obviously.”

She was at the reunion, noting she believes seeing Gavin allowed Mr. Recoskie to see for himself that Gavin was okay.

“Finally seeing him in person, with his own two eyes, knowing he had overcome a lot, and sharing some of Gavin’s journey over those five weeks, can help Mike in his recovery too.”  

She said Gavin underwent one major surgery the night he arrived at hospital that required almost six hours to repair the various injuries in his abdominal area. It was initially thought a second surgery might be required, but was avoided once the medications started to work.

He was experiencing some numbness in one hand, which is slowly abating, and a small bone in one foot was broken.

“He has some follow-up appointments to make sure everything is healing like it should,” she said. “And he starts physio next week.”

Asked how the first day of school was, Ms. Recoskie sad it must have been okay because he came home and disappeared into his room, just like a normal teenager.

“I asked him, and I think it was good,” she said. “I’m sure lots of people clustered around him and whatnot, and hopefully he’ll catch up on some of his courses and get things back on track.”

She concluded by saying she plans to get Gavin and her daughter, Ava, back to Toronto to see their dad as much as they can to support him in his recovery too.