The chili supper fundraiser for Ryan Rondeau organized by McLennan Recreation Board was held at Ecole Providence on Thursday, December 8.
Ryan Rondeau suffered serious injuries when his car hit a moose about five miles from his home at about 4.30 a.m. on November 20.
The ambulance arrived first but Ryan’s father Lance Rondeau was among the first firefighters on the scene. Lance says that any time he is called to an accident that a wall goes up as a protective mechanism and that helped.
“You don’t know what you’re going to or who you are going to see because you know so many people in the area so you already have that defense up. When I got there and recognized who it was and he talked to me and that gave me a little bit of hope.”
Ryan Rondeau was to be immediately airlifted to Edmonton but fog in Grande Prairie prevented STARS from taking off and Rondeau was later flown by plane to Edmonton and is now in University of Alberta Hospital.
“He is doing good for the circumstances. He is coming around a little bit every day,” says Ryan’s father, Lance Rondeau. “Right now he is on a ventilator and they are trying to wean him off of that. So the goal is to get him off the ventilator first.”
Fortunately, Ryan Rondeau did not sustain any brain damage but he did suffer serious injury to his neck and though he has movement in his arms, he has no feeling from the chest down.
It will take six to eight weeks for the bone in his neck to mend, so any kind of physiotherapy cannot begin until that has healed. At that time, he will be moved to another medical facility to begin physiotherapy, which could take up to six months.
Approximately 300 people attended the fundraiser which raised over $5,900 to help the Rondeau family with travel and other expenses while Ryan is hospitalized in Edmonton.
His team mates at the McLennan Red Wings hockey team volunteered to serve food at the event.
Ryan’s partner, Rhonda Bates who is in Edmonton greeted everyone at the fundraiser online from the hospital. Ryan and Rhonda’s two children age 1 and 2 are being taken care of by their extended family in McLennan.
Lance Rondeau was heading to Edmonton the morning after the fundraiser to spend time with his son over the weekend, then returning to McLennan for work on Monday.
Lance also expressed his gratitude for all the support and goodwill his family has received at this difficult time.
“I would just like to thank everybody who have come out to support him. We have had a lot of well wishes from everybody and that is great to see.”