UPDATE: 10 DAYS. 10 THOUSAND DOLLARS. UNLIMITED GRATITUDE.
We cannot believe the amount of support and generosity coming from everyone. Just ten days into the campaign now, we have far exceeded our short term campaign target and are ever closer to the endzone – we hope to raise a total of $15,000 this year.
And just to be clear – whether you gave Chris a hug or a card, $1 or $500, you ALL – every single gesture – have made a huge difference towards contributing to our friend’s health and well-being.
Team Suen continues to march forth with love, blessings and hope.
- Kori, Sarah and of course, Chris.
To anyone who knows and loves him:
Our dear friend Christopher Suen was the victim in a serious car accident in the United States this past August, 2012. The vehicle he was driving flipped over several times and ended up in a ditch after someone changed into his lane and ran him off the interstate. He suffered from broken bones and brain trauma.
Many of you in the music and church community banded together last year and have been very generous towards Chris with your money, your time and your support. For that, Chris and his family are grateful beyond words.
His road to recovery, however, is still very long, very difficult and very expensive.
In the beginning, his understanding of his injuries was grossly underestimated. Although Chris appears 'fine', his emotional, psychological and physiological condition remains unsteady and unpredictable. The results of his recent MRI gave an official diagnosis of a more serious traumatic injury to his brain than was previously assumed.
We do not yet know exactly what this means in the long term, but we do know that his life has been profoundly impacted and that he will have to make significant changes in his professional and community life once he has recovered. While there has been and will continue to be improvement, maybe even over the next several years, the consensus among Chris' doctors is that there will always be some effects left over from the brain injury, for the rest of Chris' life. Before the accident, Chris relied on music as his sole source of income, maintaining a busy schedule as associate music director of his church choir, performing and teaching regularly, and touring several times a year. This is no longer possible, and the few things that Chris can do now are not without effort and pain, and is unable to sustain them for very long. Being a dedicated member of the music community and his parish church, Chris has always given his time and energy tirelessly towards these two passions, so it is with great difficulty that he will have to rethink how he is able to continue pursuing them.
Fortunately, Chris is relatively mobile, possesses his cognitive functions and generally has his faculties at 50% or better.
I have even been able to have a few laughs with Chris. He recently shared with me, with tongue firmly in cheek, that the BC Medical Services Plan cut him a cheque towards his medical costs in the amount of $330. He currently has a U.S. hospital bill in excess of $100,000. Perhaps it's not all that funny, but it shows that his spirit and his personality are in full swing in the face of adversity.
Right now, Chris is unable to work at his previous level: his ability to perform activities that require physical or mental work is close to 15% of what it was, and he is not expected to recover in an independent capacity for at least a year, perhaps longer.
His current major financial concern is paying for the wrecked vehicle that he was borrowing when the accident occurred. Most aspects of his ongoing rehabilitation are now covered, as well as some of his other current medical expenses, but the U.S. hospital bills remain. A settlement, if achieved, is a few years away from completion. It doesn't help the time factor that he was a Canadian traveling in the U.S. as he needs two lawyers to sort out each country's laws.
The cost of the damaged vehicle and stowage is $4200.
Our goal is to raise $15,000 this year to help pay for his living expenses – food, rent, utilities and rehabilitation equipment.
Our first campaign is to raise $6000. This will pay for the car damage, and cover previous and current living expenses up to the end of January.