Penticton man paralyzed for second time | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Penticton man paralyzed for second time

The Vokey family. From the left is Nelson, Camelia, Megan and Liz.
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September 25, 2021 - 11:49 AM

A Penticton family is slowly coming to terms with a serious illness after Nelson Vokey became paralyzed from the neck down on Sept. 12 hours after the vibrations from a golf swing caused or aggravated a severe injury.

After being rushed to  Penticton Regional Hospital, a CT scan revealed the serious damage, and Nelson was then flown to Vancouver General Hospital for immediate surgery, according to the gofundme page created by his daughter Camelia.

His surgeon declared catastrophic damage and said the chance of regaining any sensation or movement is currently unknown.

To address increased swelling around Nelson’s spinal cord, a second surgery was performed on Sept. 16. 

“He requires a tracheotomy to breathe and... a feeding tube in his stomach," she said. "He has been using his eyes and eyebrows to communicate while people guess what he is trying to say, and one thing he has expressed is his desire to live.”

This is the second time Camelia has watched her father suffer paralysis. When she was 9 years old, she was watching him play ice hockey when he crashed hard into the net and laid motionless until his teammates helped him up.

“He reported his hands felt as though they were on fire,” she said. But it would be a few more minutes until the severity of the injury would be realized.

READ MORE: Kelowna woman urging head trauma prevention in hockey after husband's struggles

“I met him in the change room and that’s where the pain and paralysis worsened. He couldn’t move. His hands were still on fire. I undressed him from his hockey gear then ran to find someone to call an ambulance. Together we rode to the hospital where I then ran to my mom’s work to tell her what had happened.”

Nelson said she was told by a surgeon that he was a quadriplegic, but he was too stubborn to accept it.

“With my Dad’s faith in God, he refused that diagnosis. He prayed for healing and fought for the ability to walk again, and after some time he was able to walk.”

Nelson will be staying at the ICU Unit in Vancouver General Hospital for months until he is ready to be transferred to the Spinal Injury Unit. He will eventually be transferred to a spinal injury rehabilitation home which is located in Vancouver. That's where the request for cash comes in.

“Funds raised will go towards rehabilitation, equipment (i.e., motorized wheelchair, communication devices), and home modification expenses. In addition, my mom and sister reside in Penticton, and I reside in Edmonton, Alberta, and funds will also support our travel expenses and loss of salary to visit my dad as Vancouver will be his new home for quite some time now.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dan Walton or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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