The logistics in organizing an Island-wide online auction where more than $60,000 was raised, were a bit complicated, but still it was a labour of love and successful.
Ryan MacKinnon, a 15-year-old from O’Leary, with family ties to eastern PEI, was seriously injured in an accident on August 6. He is currently in the IWK in Halifax, having undergone multiple surgeries and still on a long road to recovery.
Janie MacKinnon of Goose River is Ryan’s aunt.
“People are so generous,” Ms MacKinnon said.
“It really is just so overwhelming.”
Ms MacKinnon and several family and friends who volunteered to help were at Goose River Hall all weekend to deliver a huge variety of items from the auction to winners from across the Island.
She was bowled over with the uptake, especially when she was contacted by a couple of people from O’Leary.
“I had just assumed the east would take care of the east and the west, the west,” she said.
At this point there had already been a very successful gofundme campaign along with two lucrative fundraising barbecues held at the Co-op stores in both Souris and O’Leary.
Ryan’s dad, Darren MacKinnon, was manager of the Souris store for several years before moving to the O’Leary operation.
Ms MacKinnon’s decision to hold an online auction caught the attention of Carol Gillis of O’Leary who is a volunteer firefighter and the grandmother of one of Ryan’s friends.
Ms Gillis saw how interest grew quickly from the west and made the decision to become involved in whatever way she could.
On Saturday Ms Gillis made the trip east to Goose River to drop off the many donations from the west and pick up items for bidders from the west.
As she unpacked a huge box of baked goods from a donor in western PEI Ms Gillis talked about how she felt it was so important to keep supporting the MacKinnons.
Ms Gillis was one of the firefighters who responded to the accident. She saw firsthand the gravity of the situation, but more importantly she talks about what a great kid Ryan is.
“He’s the kid you meet and he’ll call you by name,” Ms Gillis said.
“Very good natured.”
Ryan’s grandmother, Claire MacKinnon, agrees wholeheartedly.
“He’s always helping out wherever he can,” she said.
She spent the day at Goose River Hall and was touched by the public’s generosity.
“The support is so amazing - it’s not just the money, it is the thought behind it,” she said.
Another one of Ryan’s aunt’s, Ashley MacKinnon, was busy at the community centre distributing t-shirts and sweatshirts made as another fundraiser for Ryan.
The apparel sports the hashtag ryanthewarrior on the back and Ryan’s hockey number 90 on the front.
Ashley designed the shirts and with the help of her friend Deanne O’Hanley had them ready for distribution in short order. The initiative raised $1,000.
To date more than $100,000 has been raised to support Ryan and his family through his time in hospital and future rehabilitation.
The gofundme campaign has topped $43,000 and ticket sales on two barbecues netted more than $12,000.
Ryan’s mother is Dianne MacKinnon. His grandparents are Kenny and Donna Chaisson of Bear River and Clair and the late Brendon MacKinnon of Goose River.