TAYLOR, B.C. – After an accident in 2021 that left him paralyzed from the waist down, a Taylor resident is looking to receive stem cell treatment in Panama City, so he and his girlfriend are hosting a fundraiser to make the trip possible.

Matt McDermott and his girlfriend, Faith Phillips, had just purchased their first home and were days away from taking their first vacation together when on July 12th, 2021, McDermott was hit by a logging truck on his way to work.

“My pickup truck was sent through the air and then dropped in a field [and] the truck drove mock speed into a pile of boulders,” he explained in a letter.

“There were three other passengers that day, two walked away without a scratch, one broke his back but can still walk, but I got the worse of it when the doctors told me I will no longer walk.”

He then spent three months in a hospital for rehabilitation before enduring more hospital stays due to infections and kidney problems caused by the accident.

These days, McDermott hasn’t had an infection in a while and said, “I’ve kind of got it down pat now.”

“I walk every day still. I go to physio three times a week. I go swimming. I work out at home. “

Equipped with leg braces and a walker, McDermott tries to keep moving around his house and on his street.

Phillips added, “he’s really into yoga and reiki, grounding yourself. That’s the new thing that we’re trying now.”

The couple believes they found a way for him to walk again through stem cell research.

“My dad and my buddy Ryan actually sent me articles on paralyzed mice walking after four weeks of stem cells,” McDermott said.

He called the Stem Cell Institute in Panama City, which gave him the go-ahead. They finished sending off paperwork and now need the funding.

They estimate the entire trip, including the treatment and travel costs, will be about $30,000. That’s when they decided to throw the fundraiser in hopes of raising the money needed.

The fundraiser will be held at the Taylor Hall on Saturday, September 24th starting at 7 p.m.

The event will be 19+ and all the money raised will go to funding the stem cell treatment in Panama City.

There will be drink tickets sold at the event, games, and a silent auction.

The couple is looking for donations for the silent auction and sponsors to help with food and liquor costs.

Donations for the auction or the treatment can be sent to ineedlegs2022@outlook.com, mailed to PO box 1041 Taylor, or dropped off at 10380 102nd Avenue Taylor on Tuesdays between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Tickets will be $25 each, which includes entry and a midnight snack.

Tickets for the fundraiser can be purchased via email at ineedlegs2022@outlook.com or by contacting McDermott at 250-262-7336.

Sponsor form:

Avatar photo

Shailynn Foster

Shailynn Foster is a news reporter for energeticcity.ca. Shailynn has been writing since she was 7 years old, but only recently started her journey as a journalist. Shailynn was born and raised in Fort St. John and she watches way too much YouTube, Netflix and Disney+ during the week while playing DND on the weekends.