A professional snowboarder is still recovering after suffering a head injury while riding in Vancouver on Dec. 19.
Well-known throughout Whistler’s snowboarding community, 22-year-old Kody Williams was filming a part for an upcoming Dope Industries movie when he sustained the traumatic brain injury.
He remains under heavy sedation in a Vancouver hospital after being placed in a medically induced coma.
The London, Ont. native’s friends decided to launch a GoFundMe campaign to help with the inevitable rehabilitation costs that the athlete will encounter, and to help ease the financial burden on Williams’ family, who flew across the country to be by his side.
“Our friend Brett Wilkinson started it,” said Lenny Mazzotti, a fellow snowboarder and good friend of Williams’ who is acting as the campaign’s beneficiary, in a message from California. “I was flying up to be with Kody and the family at the time because we all felt pretty helpless out in California and not with him when he got hurt, and (Brett) really wanted to do something, so he took the initiative and really did a great thing. The family wants it all going towards his recovery and rehab and help Kody to get through this and be able to return to what he is so happy doing. He’s 22, and such a talented and gifted rider and he has so much to get back to and offer the snowboard community.”
The campaign has been an incredible success, surpassing its $10,000 goal in merely 24 hours and hitting the $30,000 mark in only 72 hours. Currently, it’s sitting at over $35,000 thanks to 654 contributors and $1,173 raised by Garfinkel’s Whistler during a fundraising night held in support of Williams, who had been based in the resort since May.
“It was incredible,” said Mazzotti. “Kody is the most selfless, most caring person, always in high spirits and shows so much love for everyone he meets... and it shows with the support.”
As for Williams’ family, they say they’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity.
“Thank you seems so inadequate at this time, because we believe that near and far well wishes have given momentum and awareness to Kody’s accident/ injury,” they wrote, in a message. “Kody is so loved and he will be wowed by the support he has received. Being out of province, this allows us to be with him as he fights his way (through) this life-altering injury. We cannot even fathom not being with him...
Let’s face it; the funds allow Kody the best possible, all-around support and having immediate familiarity of family voices, faces, love is sometimes best medicine. Thank you all.”
Now nearly a month after the incident, Mazzotti said Kody’s condition is improving.
“(It’s) slow and steady, (but) we just want him to take his time and get better and he’s proving to us he’s young and strong,” he wrote. “Kody is the man. He will never let this injury define him; he is way too strong and such an incredible person. He’ll be back on board showing us why he’s the ‘Pretzel King’ and how talented he really is at what he does and I hope this is an eye opener for everyone that things can happen, so be safe.”