A fundraiser for a B.C. high school student who broke his neck this past summer has topped $110,000.
In early August, Gavin Kamoschinski was in Kelowna when he suffered a broken neck after diving in head-first into Okanagan Lake.
The teen fractured his C5, C6, and C7 vertebrae and was flown to Vancouver General Hospital.
Two-and-a-half months later, fundraising efforts have raised more than half of the $200,000 goal.
Kamoschinski is a passionate football player at Notre Dame Regional Secondary School in Vancouver. He is a quarterback and was named a team captain for the school’s senior varsity squad.
At this time, he is paralyzed from the chest down, something he and his family hope to improve with time and physiotherapy.
“I definitely feel stronger since Day 1 … but, there is always more to push for. I know it’s going to be a long road (and) there are going to be good days and bad days. I just have to keep pushing,” Kamoschinski told Global News.
“My goal is to walk (again), so that’s what I’m going to strive for and whatever I have to do to get there … I’m going to make it happen.”
Kamoschinski said the hardest part of his recovery journey, so far, is the mental aspect of dealing with such a serious injury.
“Mentally, just kind of staying in it and not letting my mind drift away and trying to look at the good in everything … some days are harder than others,” he said.
“At the start, it was really hard.”
Kamoschinski said he leans on something an old coach told him: Put negative things behind you and keep looking forward.
“I had a coach that used to say, ‘Always have a short-term memory.’ Like if you had a bad (football) play, you have to move on from that. I’m using that mindset,” he said.
“I can’t mourn about it too much. I have to keep going and hope for the best.”
Kamoschinski said at the beginning of his recovery, he couldn’t feel his shoulders. However, the teen can feel his shoulders now, along with moving his arms and wrists.
“It feels pretty good. It’s been big leaps and bounds,” he said.
When it comes to his support group, from family to friends and the Lower Mainland’s entire football community, Kamoschinski said he’ll be forever grateful for the support he’s received.
“Just a big thank you, honestly. It is really outstanding what they have done,” he said.
“It means everything to me (and) without the support, I don’t know where I would be. They have really pushed me through all the hard stuff.”
The school’s athletic director and teacher, Deanna Schaper-Kotter, said the entire school, football team and community are rallying behind Kamoschinski.
“Honestly, as a teacher, it’s hard to not get emotional as you grow such an attachment to your (students). Hearing when one of your students goes through something like that … it really hurts. Not just for me, but for the entire community,” Schaper-Kotter said.
“He really (feels) like family. Our coach said he’s one of the hardest-working players he has ever met. I can’t say enough great things about him, and his family, and really it’s a huge tragedy.”
One of Kamoschinski’s teammates spoke with Global News on Saturday.
“He is funny, always cracking jokes and a great player. He is super smart and threw the ball really well,” Aiden Perizzolo said.
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“I liked him even more as a friend off the field.”
A couple of his teammates were at F45 Training gym on Saturday. The gym was holding a drop-in fundraiser for Kamoschinski.
Other local B.C. high school teams have donated to his fundraiser, as well as donating funds raised at games with ticket and clothing sales specially made with support GK (Gavin Kamoschinski) logos.
The senior varsity team has also dedicated its 2023 season to their side-lined leader.