Nelson fundraiser set for Oct. 20
KANEVILLE—Becky Nelson, the Maple Park native who spent almost five weeks in a coma following a hit-and-run accident in the Cayman Islands on July 1, is awake and undergoing rehabilitation in Chicago—and a family-friendly fundraiser on Oct. 20 intends to raise money to help her bounce back.
It’s been a nightmarish scenario for the Nelson family, who found their 28-year-old daughter stranded in a Caribbean hospital with a traumatic brain injury, a shattered pelvis and no health insurance. Dave and Peggy Nelson, who own a dairy farm in Maple Park, struggled for several weeks to get Becky enrolled in Medicaid and transferred to a Chicago-area hospital.
Though Becky has been undergoing extensive therapy at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago since mid-August, her application for Medicaid is still being processed.
That means that even as Becky faces a two-year recovery process—right now, she’s working with a physical therapist to sit up and balance again and has started to regain her ability to speak, saying a few things such as “Where am I?” and “Hi, Mommy”—it’s unclear how much of her treatment will be covered and what medical bills she will face.
Becky will have another surgery later this fall to put a plate in her head to replace the portion of skull that was removed during earlier surgeries. Doctors also hope that in about a month, her hip will be healed enough for her to begin putting weight on it.
News of the accident mobilized Audry Buchanan, an Elburn resident who had never met the Nelsons but understood their plight because she had been in a coma as a result of a car accident in 1981, to reach out to the family. Together, they’ve planned a fundraiser to help pay for Becky’s treatment.
The fundraiser, the Help Becky Bounce Back Blowout, will be held at the Kaneville Community Center on Sunday, Oct. 20, from 1 to 5 p.m.
“We are hoping to make a significant contribution to Becky Nelson’s medical fund, because her brain and bodily injuries were so traumatic that she is looking at a two-year recovery period, and she is without health insurance,” Buchanan said. “Our goal is to help the family to make enough money to pay her medical bills, and maybe to even do a series of fundraisers, because this is going to be an expensive two years.”
Anne Carson, Becky’s aunt, is helping plan the fundraiser and said she hoped the community would come out to support the cause.
“We just hope that it helps raise some funds to offset part of the medical costs,” Carson said. “We’re not sure what the insurance coverage is right now, and even when you have insurance, it doesn’t pay for everything.”
Since Becky is a preschool teacher, the event will feature a bevy of children’s activities, including a bounce house, Halloween-themed arts and crafts, wagon rides, games and face painting. Families can purchase $15 wristbands at the door to give their children unlimited access to activities, and families with three or more children can purchase wristbands for $10 each. Tickets for individual activities will also be available.
There will be live music for the adults, as well as a bean bag tournament, a 50/50 raffle, a bucket raffle and a silent auction. Teams can register for the bags tournament for $20 a team.
Raffle prizes include two tickets to see the Chicago Bears play the Detroit Lions on Nov. 10 at Soldier Field, a queen-sized Sealy mattress and a Stihl leaf blower. Tickets are $5 each or five tickets for $20; they are available now at Old Second Bank locations in Elburn, Kaneville and Maple Park, as well as at the event.
Silent auction items include a Kaneland Knights jersey autographed by Don Beebe, Blackhawks and Bears jerseys, a wine tasting for a party of eight, a photo session, a quilt, a private group yoga session, gift certificates and a variety of gift baskets. Donations of prizes are still being accepted, Carson said, and the list is growing.
Food from Paisano’s and Hill’s Country Store will also be for sale, and some of the proceeds will go toward the fundraising effort.
“People should come because it’s fun with a purpose. It’s Halloween shopping time, and if you’re going to blow $40 on decorations and pumpkins and costumes, come blow it here. It is simply amazing what can be accomplished—now look, hundreds of people are going to have a good time on this day, and Becky is going to have the financial support that she needs,” Buchanan said.
Pat Hill, Kaneville’s Village President, urged area families to come out and support the fundraiser.
“Becky is a great person, and she deserves to be helped, and that’s what we do. We help people in their time of need,” Hill said. “Put yourself in their situation. You’d want somebody to help you if that happened to you, and that’s what you do.”