A North Saanich woman is hosting a fundraising dinner for an Ecuadorean teenager who lost her legs in a tragic incident.
On a summer’s evening in 2018, in the Ecuadorean town of Pasaje, the members of a dance therapy group were running through their exercises when they heard police sirens. A car was suddenly upon them, skidding out of control.
Many were badly injured and local media reported a five-year-old girl lost her life. Nicole Tobar, 17, was pinned between the car and a wall and had to have both her legs amputated later in hospital.
A 15-year-old joyrider changed many of their lives, including Nicole’s, forever.
Deep Cove resident Brooke Guryn, 21, who got to know Nicole doing missionary work, was so touched by her friend’s situation that she set up a GoFundMe page and left glass collection jars around Peninsula businesses, to help cover medical costs. Now she is planning a fundraiser to try meet her ultimate goal of buying Tobar prosthetic legs, which cost around $30,000.
“There are many people who are struggling in the world. I know, and I know that I can’t change the world, but I can change the world of this one girl,” says Guryn, adding that she can only do it with the support of the community.
Despite being hampered by local charities focusing on local causes, Guryn has been encouraged by the $400 raised so far largely from individuals, and says she is overwhelmed by the generosity of those who have donated, saying there are “not enough words to say thank you.”
The dinner is to be catered by a well known local restaurant and the music will feature original music and cover songs from local acoustic bands. Greater Victoria and Peninsula businesses have donated a number of items for the silent auction, including a Jesse Roper guitar strap, dance classes, CrossFit personal training sessions, hairdressing services, free meals and drinks from well-known brands.
Tobar went back to school and graduated. She is now working for her town’s mayor but money is tight and the internet was recently switched off in her house. Guryn says Tobar is currently trying to learn English but is finding her lack of mobility and intermittent internet access difficult.
“Legs 4 Nicole” is June 28 at the McTavish Academy of Art at 6 p.m. and will feature a catered dinner, acoustic music, door prizes, a silent auction and some surprise attractions. Tickets cost $45 and are available at email@example.com.