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GoFundMe seeks $34,000 for veteran’s prosthetic leg after Canada’s military refuses to pay

Conservative MP Erin O'Toole demanded during Question Period on Thursday that the Liberal government step up in the case of Capt. Kimberly Fawcett, who was injured in an accident that killed her son.

Canada’s military has thus far refused to pay the $34,000 for a prosthetic leg for one of its veterans, who lost a limb — and her son — in a devastating accident 12 years ago.

So now, a resident of Oshawa, Ont. has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the veteran himself.

WATCH: Charity offers to help pay for veteran’s prosthetic leg

Charity offers to help pay for veteran’s prosthetic leg
Charity offers to help pay for veteran’s prosthetic leg

John Deremo is a retired former employee of the soon-to-be-closed GM plant in Oshawa.

He grew emotional when he read the story of Capt. Kimberly Fawcett, an Air Force veteran whose nine-month-old son was killed in a crash on Highway 401 close to Kingston, while she was taking him to his grandparents’ house so she could report for a deployment.

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Since the crash, she has been hit with a bill of $34,151.15 for the prosthetic leg, and has spent almost a decade fighting with the military in the hope that they’ll pay for it.

“I don’t know whether it was the lump in my throat or the knot in my stomach that did it, but she’s been through a horrendous thing,” Deremo told Global News.

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“To have people turn their back on them, that’s just not right.”

The military initially considered Fawcett on duty when she went about a “matter related (directly) to her service in the Canadian Forces… in that both travel to her son’s daycare and then to the base were required activities to enable her to perform her military duties at work.”

However, one of Fawcett’s commanding officers later overturned that conclusion, saying that she was not on duty at the time.

WATCH: Government refuses to pay for veteran’s prosthetic leg

Government refuses to pay for veteran’s prosthetic leg
Government refuses to pay for veteran’s prosthetic leg

And so began a battle that has dragged on ever since.

The Federal Court found that the military was being unreasonable in refusing to pay, but the Canadian Armed Forces appealed, and a judge sided with them.

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Fawcett has since appealed that decision.

READ MORE: Military, Veterans Affairs won’t pay for Air Force officer’s prosthetic leg, leaving her with $34,000 bill

The case has taken a turn since Fawcett’s story was told.

On Wednesday, officials with the Armed Forces said they’re willing to sit down with her and look into any costs associated with the prosthetic. They also said she’s being supported through a number of military programs.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan is looking into the case personally.

A charity has also offered to pay for the prosthetic leg.

Capt. Kimberly Fawcett.
Capt. Kimberly Fawcett. Courtesy of Kimberly Fawcett

Meanwhile, Deremo’s GoFundMe is seeking $34,000 to pay for the prosthetic, and had raised just over $2,000 as of Thursday night.

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“I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose an infant, and seeing it happen, going through that, still being able to go and give for your country,” he said.

“She has put everything she has out there.”

WATCH: How Royal Canadian Legion supports veterans and families

How Royal Canadian Legion supports veterans and families
How Royal Canadian Legion supports veterans and families

Deremo isn’t sure that the campaign will reach its goal, but he said it has received plenty of attention on Facebook.

“Most of the people that have donated have said exactly the same thing — been disgusted at their government,” he said.

  • With files from Mercedes Stephenson
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