Junior high students dig deep for Erik

  • May. 24, 2011 4:00 p.m.

Once again, Quesnel’s giving community has revealed itself – this time in the form of a group of junior high secondary students from Mr. Travis Hall’s English classes.

“It was for a great person and a great cause” McKenzie Wills said, of the classes’ recent $500 donation to Erik Saitz.

Erik Saitz, 24, was involved in a severe motorbike accident eight years ago, from which he received life-changing injuries.

Saitz was not wearing a helmet and is now in a wheelchair, living at Dunrovin, and needing assistance for his daily functions.

Travis Hall learned about Erik and the struggles him and his family had been having through his fiancée, who works with Erik. Hall said the family had been challenged with coming up with the funds for a special bed that would help Erik to be moved around more easily.

“I presented the idea to the kids [at school] and we set a goal of raising $500 to donate and they pulled it off,” Hall said.

“Four of the girls went down and presented the mom with the money and she knew nothing about it so she was really touched.”

All of Hall’s classes contributed, there was an envelope designated for donations and students gave to it when they could. When the set amount had been raised, four of the students made a visit to Dunrovin and surprised Saitz and his mom, Linnea.

I spoke to the four pupils about the experience.

“We all thought that Erik, who’s an awesome guy, a really nice guy – he’s a guy who deserves it,” Kaitlin Godsoe said.

“The whole class thought it would be awesome to raise money for this guy.”

“We felt bad for him and wanted to make the family feel better by doing something good for him,” Wills added.

When asked why they wanted to help Saitz, Lauren Matzner commented, “I think because he’s not going to walk again and he’s in Dunrovin. I think he deserves a comfy bed.”

“The mom was probably the nicest person I ever met,” Camille St. Laurent added.

“She started crying. It just felt really good to do something really nice for someone else.

Bev Gronzil, a student support worker in the class, was also involved.

“I think it’s amazing Travis and his class wanted to do this,” she said.

Gronzil is a volunteer with the Family Support Institute.

“I support families with children with disabilities. We advocate and make these connections with families who are having these struggles.”

Gronzil connects with Linnea from her experience raising her own disabled child, who has since passed away.

“It was the coolest experience when we went over that day” Grondzil says of accompanying the students to Dunrovin with the cheque.

The money will be used for a Stryker bed, which costs around $12,000.

The bed “syncs to your heavy places, builds muscle tone and moves him” explains Wills.

It also will keep Saitz cool with its built in air conditioning.

The bed automatically turns him as well, so that he doesn’t develop bed sores.

Linnea is building a microboard which Gronzil explains is “where a group of people that love Erik and care about his future volunteer to help make decisions in his future life. We advocate and support him to have the best life he can.”

It is planned to be called “Erik’s Angels on Earth” anyone wishing to make a donation to Saitz can do so at the Bank of Nova Scotia savings account Linnea Saitz.