Penticton man fighting paralysis for third time in life

3rd time fighting paralysis


A Penticton man who has been paralyzed for the third time in his life has been blown away by community support as he battles for recovery in hospital.

Nelson Vokey was first paralyzed when his daughter Camelia was just nine years old — she was watching him play hockey, when a crash sent him to hospital.

Nelson regained his ability to walk, suffered an issue again seven years later requiring surgery, and once again learned to take steps on his own.

All was well until September 2021, when the vibrations from his golf swing triggered more damage to his spine, leaving him facing multiple surgeries, paralyzed from the neck down and unable to breathe on his own.

His daughter Camelia started a GoFundMe with a goal of $100,000 to support her dad, hoping to ensure his life post-paralysis would be as straightforward and comfortable as possible.

After weeks in hospital in Vancouver, Camelia is happy to have a good-news update about her dad. While he remains in Vancouver and can't breathe without the help of machines, Nelson has re-learned to talk and has expressed his gratitude to everyone who has donated to his care.

"The donations we have received have blown us away! It is so amazing to see how people come together to support one another when someone is in need. My dad is a natural fighter when it comes to his health, and this experience has been very traumatic and challenging for him. Every donation encourages my dad to keep fighting. He has found it so incredibly helpful, which makes me even more grateful for everyone’s support because it really truly does support him so, so much," Camelia wrote in an update.

She said her dad had been asking daily to be read aloud the messages and comments people left on the GoFundMe, or sent to Camelia directly.

His road to recovery is still long, and Camelia is still shy of her fundraising goal to make sure Nelson doesn't need to worry about finances as he transitions back to Penticton.

An occupational therapist has completed a preliminary look at at Nelson's Penticton home, and renovations will be taking place over the coming months while Nelson continues to be treated in Vancouver, with the goal of eventually returning home.

Camelia filmed her father sharing a special thank you, and echoed his sentiment in her own update.

"The phrase 'thank you' is no equivalent to the amount of thanks and appreciation I feel because words cannot even describe the extent of my gratitude," she wrote.

Find the GoFundMe for Nelson here.

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