A Kamloops couple and their pet dog were physically injured and emotionally traumatized after surviving a horrific traffic accident a little over a week ago.

Ken and Stacey Jyrkkanen were on their way home from their annual camping trip in Alberta when they were hit head-on by an oncoming SUV that crossed over into their lane on the Trans-Canada Highway in Salmon Arm, July 25. The driver of the SUV died when people helping at the scene could not get them out of the vehicle which was on fire.

“I keep reliving (the accident), and thinking about the what-ifs,” Ken said. “There are endless images cycling through my head.”

Stacey was air lifted to Royal Inland Hospital with a broken femur and broken feet while Ken is dealing with a concussion and number of smaller injuries. The couple’s dog Finn had emergency surgery to remove his spleen.

Daughter Michaela Jyrkkanen is raising money to help cover medical costs for all three of them that are not covered by ICBC. 

READ MORE: One dead in head-on Trans-Canada crash near Salmon Arm 

“Mom will need multiple surgeries to rebuild her femur and both feet,” Michaela wrote in an online fundraiser. “She will need mobility aides in order to move home, and their house needs renovations for wheelchair access.”

The long-term goal is to get Stacey walking independently again and it's going to be a long road to recovery for her.

“Stacey got the worst of it,” Ken said. “Her injuries are going to take a lot of time to heal and will be life-altering. At times we grieve over how life has changed. There is shock, anger and disbelief.”

The couple is very active with a deep-rooted love for the outdoors, including hiking in the backcountry which is an activity they have done together for many years. 

“We’ll get through the physical challenges eventually but right now the emotional stuff is difficult,” Ken said. “The trauma and the reliving of the accident. Sometimes I have to take a breath and get my head into a different space.”

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Stacey and Ken have been actively involved in the Kamloops community for years and have volunteered hours to local organizations including the Girl Guides, Cub Scouts, Kamloops Curling Club and various ice hockey tournaments.

Ken recently retired as a social worker after three decades but continues that work on a private basis, while Stacey is a singer and treasurer with a local choir, and an active level four swim referee. 

“We are so grateful for everyone who has already reached out to offer their thoughts and prayers, visited my mom, brought my parents meals, and more,” Michaela wrote. “Thank you again for all the positive thoughts, healing vibes and prayers, it means the world to us.”

To donate to the Jyrkkanen family go here.

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