A serious boating accident has become a wake up call for one young St. Albert man, who is now the focus of a crowdfunding campaign.
Jeff Lovasz was wake surfing behind a boat three weeks ago at Jack Fish Lake, west of Stony Plain. Things didn’t go well and he fell into the water, where a pontoon boat struck the back of his head, pulling him under. The boat’s propeller cut his back and left arm, leaving him with a fractured spine, broken right shoulder blade and some broken ribs. He needed approximately 60 staples in his back, 15 in his head and 40 internal/external sutures on his arm.
The emergency trauma team called him the “luckiest of the unlucky,” suggesting that things could easily have been much more tragic.
“The doctors and I believe it’s a miracle,” he said. “I was just millimetres away of a fatal accident and-or my spinal cord being severed. I have a new more positive outlook on life. Simply, I am happy to be alive.”
Happy and alive, yes, but his recovery is only one facet of his trials.
“The road to recovery for me is unknown, both psychologically and physically,” he said.
Lovasz, 27, is the sole proprietor of an Edmonton company called Eazy Peazy Plumbing. He doesn’t have any disability insurance so his medical, personal, and business expenses are growing by the day. He’s being supported with constant care from his home care nurses and his family, including his mother who has taken a leave from work.
“He’s got an amazing support system,” said long-term friend Maegan Crowley.
There is, however, a growing deficit between what he needs and what they can afford.
That’s why his family started a crowdfunding campaign to help him get back on his feet. It has already collected more than $11,000 of its $20,000 goal with the help of nearly 90 supporters. People can offer their support by finding the page ‘LEND A Hand To LOVASZ’ at www.gofundme.com.
He emphasized how much he appreciates this effort, and that he’s humbled by people’s generosity.
“There is a lot of bad in the world but when you personally go through this type of tragedy, it is so wonderful to see the beauty in people and how empathetic they truly are.”
Lovasz is using the opportunity to reflect on what’s really important and to offer some words of advice about water safety.
“As clichés go, your life truly changes when you’re faced with a near-death experience. My outlook on family, friends and life has changed drastically. I will be paying more attention to the small things in my life and not striving for the materialistic world that we live in,” he continued. “My happiness now comes from my family and faith. Without my mother’s constant care and attention to my well-being, this would be much more difficult.”
“I urge everyone to stop and think of their actions and think about safety first. Boating safety is as paramount as operating any motorized vehicle.”
Crowley agreed, adding her thoughts on how closely things could have been so much worse for her friend.
“I don’t know how many people survive boating accidents where you get tossed under and sliced up. The doctors said that it’s a miracle. He’s a really strong person, mentally and physically and he’s managed to pull himself out of it, but recovery is really challenging. I know he’s going to make a good recovery and he’s going to be all right, but his life is definitely 100 per cent changed. He’ll probably never be able to go back to living his life the same way he did before.”