Pat Henman and her daughter Maia Vezina continue to make incredible strides in their recovery following a horrific car accident last month.
The well-known locals were travelling home from Calgary on June 9 when another car crossed the centre line and struck their vehicle head-on near Skookumchuck. They both suffered many broken bones and internal injuries leaving them in critical condition.
But today, both Pat and Maia have been moved out of the intensive care unit into the trauma unit at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary. Still under careful watch, Pat is breathing on her own, reports her brother Jim Henman.
“She is such a strong person, physically and emotionally and spiritually that she’s done amazing things in three weeks,” he says. “She’s to the point where basically her body has taken over to heal.”
Jim, who lives in Nova Scotia, is pleased to report his sister has mobility in her arms and legs and has started speaking, softly.
“Her mind is 100 per cent,” he says. “She’s quite positive and really strong spirited as people who know her to be.”
The next step for Pat is a back brace to support her while injuries heal. She’s also taking a little bit of water as her digestion was compromised by trauma. Foods will be a while yet. Pat suffers from pain and is still taking medications for that.
Maia’s condition wasn’t as serious as her mother’s and she is recovering well after further surgeries to her legs. She’s also struggling with double vision due to the trauma of the accident. This isn’t related to injuries and should heal over time, relays Jim.
Through this traumatic experience Pat and Maia have been surrounded by family. Pat has several siblings who have visited her to offer support and give respite to Larry Vezina, Pat’s husband and Maia’s father.
“It gives Larry a chance to go take care of things or just have a break,” says Jim. “He seems to be doing okay. He’s handling it pretty good.”
Their two other children Zoe and Liam also recently had the chance to sit with their mother and hear her speak to them.
“They got to see their mom fully conscious and able to speak to them. It was really good for them to see that — that their mom was recovering,” says Jim.
Jim is making the long journey west to see Pat for the first time since her accident. While he’s been continually updated, he is anxious to sit with his niece and sister.
“As well as her husband and children, Pat needs to see her siblings,” says Jim. “I can’t imagine what she’s going through and what she’s gone through inside her own mind after being through this.”
Pat and Maia’s recovery and rehabilitation will take many months and costs are already adding up for the family. Financial support from the community is vital and many are coming forward with funds and fundraising efforts.
The Capitol Theatre is hosting a fundraising variety show to raise money for the mother and daughter. Pat has been a key figure in Nelson’s theatre community.
Karen Agnew is helping organize the event called Raising the Curtain For Pat and Maia. A good friend of Pat’s, she describes the month following the accident as “a roller coaster ride up until that fantastic day when Larry’s call was to say that Pat was also out of the woods.”
With the help of friends, putting together a show has been easy with response from the community fantastic, she says.
“Pat has touched so many people over the years and is so very well loved, as is her daughter Maia. People are really keen to help out in any way they can,” she says.
Former singers with Shenango, an ensemble Pat was a part of will perform along with Allison Girvan, Bessie Wapp, Lucas Meyers, Dylann McPherson and Michael Graham as well as others.
Agnew describes the evening as an “upbeat celebration” that will include a silent auction as well as a photo booth with costumes available to take “wild and crazy pictures” to send to Pat and Maia. Silent auction items are still being accepted.
The event goes on July 31 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available now at the Capitol Theatre box office at a cost of $30, or if people would like to contribute more, there are also $50 tickets available.
Fundraising efforts at Selkirk College where Pat worked are ongoing. Anyone wishing to help by contributing to the Pat Henman Support fund can contact Joyce Buckler at 250-365-1360 or through email at email@example.com
With Maia being a recent alumnus, the L.V. Rogers graduating class of 2013 has raised $3,000 to support the family and the Kootenay Co-op Country Store is taking donations at their till from customers who are shopping.
The co-op’s Jocelyn Carver explains the Pat Henman and Maia Vezina Recovery Fund is easy to donate to using the Local Emergency Relief Till Donation card.
“Pat, in particular, has given so much to the community,” she says. “This is the fastest way we could respond to the community’s desires to help.”
Any amount can be donated and this effort is also ongoing.