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TAYLOR, B.C. — A Taylor resident who was involved in a severe vehicle incident in 2021 is going for stem cell research in Panama City through funds raised at the I Need Legs 2022 fundraiser.

The fundraiser for Matthew McDermott, held in Taylor, made over $30,000, which is enough to fund the stem cell treatment and travel costs.

On top of surpassing his fundraising goal, McDermott proposed to his partner, Faith Philips, during the event.

Faith’s ring. (Photo credit: Pamela Gunning)

Phillips, McDermott’s now fiancé, says there were almost 200 people that attended the fundraiser.

“It was a really, really good turnout. I actually had people come up to me and tell me they’d never been to a fundraiser with so much going on,” Phillips said.

The couple 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.”

After looking at a few different options, the couple found a stem cell research option in Panama, which led to the creation of the fundraiser.

The couple is waiting for a call back from the doctors in Panama to book the appointments and is working on getting their passports as quickly as possible, as they’d like to be in Panama on Christmas.

After the trip, they aren’t sure what will happen next, but the recovery period is estimated at two years.

“Once we go, and we make the trip, and we do the treatment, we’d love to touch base with the community and let them know where their money went and how it worked out for us,” Phillips added.

In the meantime, McDermott says things are going well.

“I do physio three times a week. I walk around the house as much as I can. I clean up around the house and stuff,” he said.

“I just try to keep myself busy. Go for walks and stuff.”

Phillips says there have been fewer hospital visits as well, and home life has been a lot more peaceful for them.

They raised enough money for stem cell research in Panama and a bit extra that they would like to donate to another family in the area they are trying to contact.

“Matt is doing stem cell research, and if there are other people in the community who are in that situation, whoever ever considered different options, we’re definitely people that they could reach out to,” Phillips said.

McDermott says he can be reached at 250-262-7336.

The couple would also like to thank their many sponsors (pictured below) for their help with the event.

Event sponsors (Photo Credit: Faith Phillips)

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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.