Hockey tragedy inspires outpouring of support
Support is pouring in for a White Rock man who was paralyzed in a freak hockey mishap last month.
Friends of Richard Morrison confirmed this week that about $30,000 – including donations ranging from 60 cents from a young Ontario girl to $10,000 from his employers at HandyDart – has been raised since word broke of the accident.
“Lots of people are reaching out… across the country, in fact,” said Brent Silzer, a longtime friend of Morrison’s. “It’s just crazy the outpouring we’ve gotten.”
Morrison, 47, has been in intensive care at Vancouver General Hospital since breaking his neck in two places during a morning drop-in game at Burnaby’s 8 Rinks on April 21.
The damage to his vertebrae left the married father of two a quadriplegic.
In the days that followed, friends and teammates quickly rallied: a website (www.richardmorrisonfund.org) with daily updates on Morrison’s condition was created, including links for those wanting to donate to help his family or send a personal message; a trust account has been set up at CIBC; and fundraisers are being planned.
Edna Craig, general manager of operations at MVT Canadian Bus that runs HandyDart, said she was thrilled to be able to share news of the $10,000 corporate donation. Craig worked with Morrison, a HandyDart driver, since 2005 and was devastated to hear what had happened.
Craig is hopeful MVT’s contribution will inspire the company’s 600-plus employees to also donate. Many already have, she noted.
“We’re trying to sort of encourage even a small amount from every employee,” Craig said. “We’d like to do the absolute most that’s possible.”
Morrison worked out of MVT’s Cloverdale base, driving clients – many of them disabled – throughout the Langley and White Rock area.
She said this is the first time she’s heard of anyone going from providing the service to needing it themselves.
“I just hope we can be there and that every driver that picks up Richard will be as good and kind and considerate as Richard was a driver,” Craig said.
Silzer said that while Morrison’s condition took a turn for the worse with the onset of pneumonia and fever, he showed improvement Monday. He remains on a respirator but was expected to start seeing friends at his bedside as early as Wednesday.
Efforts to make people aware of the situation are happening “round-the-clock,” Silzer said. Donations are coming from “hockey fans everywhere,” including some overseas, he said.
Media attention has come from as far away as New York, and Silzer is hopeful his friend’s story may soon be shared on Hockey Night in Canada.
“It just keeps getting bigger and bigger,” he said. “We’ve got so many people helping, offering to help. Richard has got so many good friends and everybody’s banding together.”