Community rallies for man seriously injured in car crash

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Salt Spring Islander Neal Kennedy is in hospital undergoing surgery for major injuries he sustained in a car accident, and community members have stepped in to support him and his family with a GoFundMe campaign.  

Kennedy sustained severe injuries after a Nov. 2 car accident on Rainbow Road in Ganges.

“The car was a total write-off, and he was lucky to have survived,” wrote Angelo Scaia in an online fundraiser for Kennedy. “He suffered a broken back, impact trauma to his kidneys, dislocated his shoulder.” 

Reached on Friday, Scaia said Kennedy is at Victoria General Hospital, having already undergone surgery on his back and an upcoming reconstructive surgery on his shoulder.

“His kidneys took a pretty big impact, they weren’t really working,” Scaia said, a situation that doctors continue to monitor. Adding to the difficulty of recovery are COVID-19 rules that limit the people who can visit hospitals, although Scaia confirmed Kennedy’s partner Isela Fernandez and some family members are with him. 

Kennedy, who attended high school on the island, works in building maintenance and is also a filmmaker. He recently directed the 2020 independent film Eyes Within You (Free Will Films). 

Scaia started the fundraiser, which had raised $11,475 in its first three days, to help Kennedy and his partner as he recovers. 

“It was just to alleviate some of the stress on both of them so that they can focus on recovery and rehabilitation as best they can, so that they can stay in their living situation and relieve some of the stresses that come with recovery,” Scaia said.

Recovery time will be far longer than initially expected, he added. 

Helping Kennedy and his family “is what living in a small community is all about,” Scaia said. “This is what you do for each other in a small town like this.” 

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