Katie O’Neill, second from right, and her family. (Thomas Camus photo)

Katie O’Neill, second from right, and her family. (Thomas Camus photo)

O’Neill humbled by community fundraiser

Facebook auction helping Smithers resident Katie O’Neill

Friends and community members have started a fundraiser on Facebook for Katie O’Neill, who was recently medivaced to Vancouver for emergency spinal surgery. Although the surgery was a success, the recovery time is extensive.

The goal of the fundraiser is to help raise money for living expenses, while O’Neill is unable to work.

O’Neill is the sole income provider of her household and is a contract worker, not eligile for benefits or diability income. Friends came up with the idea of a fundraiser to help where businesses or individuals can donate an item or service, determine a value for the item, and people bid.

Donations are also welcome on the page, and the proceeds from both will help offset some of the financial pressure while O’Neill recuperates.

Individuals and businesses continue to post items available and the number of people watching or bidding on the site has increased to 663 members since Oct. 7, when the page was created.

When O’Neill learned of the site and what the community has been doing to help her, she said she felt humbled, honoured, grateful, “and completely overwhelmed by the support.”

“It took me a long time to be able to read the whole way through this (Facebook) page, without crying the whole way through.”

O’Neill is amazed by everyone willing to help out, even complete strangers.

“I had no idea so many people cared, my heart is exploding.”

“I will never forget this.”

The auction will remain open until Nov. 3.

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Katie O'Neill (Facebook Photo)

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