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.
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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.
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.
“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
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.
Fawcett has since appealed that decision.
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.
Meanwhile, Deremo’s GoFundMe is seeking $34,000 to pay for the prosthetic, and had raised just over $2,000 as of Thursday night.
“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.”
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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