Aberdeen, Saskatchewan’s Kyrell Sopotyk may never walk again. At least that’s what the 19-year-old was told by doctors just hours after the January 22 snowboarding accident in North Battleford that left the Kamloops Blazers forward paralyzed from the belly-button and down.
In hospital ever since, the Sopotyk family is slowly coming to grips with the new reality of life post-accident.
“He comes out of his bed and sits in his wheelchair. I’m glad for him in that way, but it’s still not right,” Bobby Sopotyk told Kamloops This Week in a telephone interview. “It’s been a struggle to get through. Right now, we don’t know what’s going to happen with Kyrell and walking. Basically, his WHL career is over. We’re just going to try to get him to walk.”
Sopotyk’s mother, Lori, added that Kyrell’s recovery will be a long journey, but the fact that he is remaining positive through the life-changing matter is a tremendous help.
“He’s staying in good sprits, but it’s tough,” she told Kamloops This Week. “Nobody is giving us any good news. They’re just telling us to plan for the worst and the long road ahead of us. We’re not giving up. We have high hopes. Ky’s a fighter and he never gives up.”
Just days after the accident, a Go-Fund-Me page was created in honour of Sopotyk, with a goal of raising $10K to be given to the family for medical expenses, home renovations and lifestyle changes following this tragic event.
“Our family would like to express the immense gratitude and thanks for the overwhelming support and kindness during this tough time,” Lori Sopotyk wrote in an update on Monday. “Kyrell is working towards months of recovery with his medical and rehab team at Saskatoon City Hospital.”
As of Wednesday morning, the fund has nearly hit $200K in donations from over 1,700 individual donors.
“We ask that you please continue to keep him in your thoughts and prayers on his long journey ahead,” she added. “The incredible support of family, friends and the community makes a huge difference in Kyrell’s road to recovery and maintaining a positive attitude. Thank you to everyone for your support and generosity whether it be through cards, calls, texts, donations, food or the purchase of decals.”
The third-year Blazers forward had 25 goals, 49 points and 81 penalty minutes in his 114-game WHL career with Kamloops.