Community raises $30K in one day for paralyzed Kamloops respiratory therapist

More than $30,000 has been raised for Kamloops resident Dan McLean, who was involved in an accident last week. 

On the morning of April 18, McLean and his brother Alex were hunting just outside of Radium. A gun fired accidentally and lodged a bullet in McLean's spine.  

The longtime Royal Inland Hospital (RIH) respiratory therapist was airlifted to a Calgary hospital and was told he was never going to walk again, his daughter Hillary tells KamloopsMatters. 

mcleansFrom left, son Daniel, daughter Hillary, wife Colleen and Dan McLean. (via Contributed)

"The bullet is still there, and at the moment, they say they can’t operate on him," she says, adding the procedure is "just too risky."

McLean's injury means he's paralyzed from the chest down and still has the use of his arms.

The goal is to have McLean transferred to GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre in Vancouver. Doctors have told the family that he could be there for three to six months, before being allowed to return home to Kamloops.

"We could be here in Calgary for a month, waiting for him to go to Vancouver," says Hillary.

To help out with the costs associated with recovery, work colleague Kirstin Gayfer has started a GoFundMe campaign. Since it launched, 259 people have donated $30,055 — in one day. The goal was originally set at $15,000. 

"It's crazy," Hillary says of the amount raised. "I think we've all been overwhelmed with all the love and support." 

That support has also come in the form of letters. 

"He probably has close to 80 letters now from RIH people. It's pretty amazing," says Hillary. 

The funds will help with travel expenses while Hillary's mom Colleen and uncle stay with McLean in Vancouver, as well as purchase a wheelchair and an accessible vehicle. The family is also talking about renovating their home, to make it more wheelchair-friendly.

As for McLean, he's in great spirits, says Hillary.

"He's a very, very strong man. He's probably holding up better than all of us. He's making tons of jokes. Anyone who knows my dad personally knows that's how he is."

To donate to the campaign, click HERE.

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