Brooke Guryn from North Saanich is raising funds for a young Ecuadorean dancer who had both legs amputated as the result of a horrific accident.
Nicole Tobar, who was 17 at the time of the accident, was outside with a dance therapy group that she volunteered with in the town of Pasaje, when a car being chased by police lost control and plowed into the volunteers and patients.
Tobar was pinned by the car and had to have both legs amputated later in hospital. Ecuadorean media reported that other people in the group were badly injured and a five-year-old girl was killed.
The incident, which happened last summer, further shocked the local community when the driver turned out to be a 15-year-old boy.
Ecuadorean newspaper Diario Correo reported Nicole’s reaction to the incident.
“I’m sad. There are situations in which I remember what happened that night, that makes me very sad, I wake up at dawn and I do not touch my legs.”
Guryn, 21, who was in Ecuador for 13 months as part of missionary work, came to know Tobar and her family well. She was in a nearby city when the accident happened and has spoken to Tobar and her family extensively since.
“Everyone was upset and frustrated, at the driver, at the police. There were lots of people impacted. It was very traumatic.”
When Guryn returned home to North Saanich, she decided that she wanted to help.
“I had built a relationship with this girl. I was inspired by her strength and knew I had to do something for her.”
Tobar is currently confined to a wheelchair and Guryn says that buying prosthetic legs will cost between $10,000 and $50,000 each. She has set up a GoFundMe page on Tobar’s behalf and has made a number of collection jars that she plans to leave in Sidney and North Saanich businesses for customers to leave donations in. She is approaching businesses to see if they would be willing to support her fundraising efforts and she says that Deep Cove Market has already agreed to host one of the jars. Guryn is also planning at least one fundraising music event in Victoria.
Guryn says that Tobar, who had ambitions to be a dancer, is being supported by her local community and her faith, through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
“She is grateful that she is alive,” said Guryn. “She is a living inspiration.”