Thanks to a recent fundraiser at Cactus Jack's, Jessie Simpson will receive more than $4,000 to go toward his care.
Kellan Sandhu, an events manager at CJ's and the owner/operator of Hi, Society Entertainment, helped organize the Nov. 22 gathering. DJ's, including Abstrakt Sonance, provided the tunes.
Proceeds from ticket sales (entrance was $10), a silent auction and a 50/50 draw were donated to Simpson, who was assaulted in June 2016 by Kristopher Teichrieb. The attack left Simpson with a catastrophic brain injury, along with many other physical injuries that have left him bedridden and wheelchair-bound in a full-time care facility.
"It was a very, very successful (event)," Sandhu tells KamloopsMatters.
The original fundraising goal was somewhere between $1,000 and $2,000.
"I was really stoked on how well-received the silent auction was," he says, adding around 80 businesses in Kamloops donated something.
But the highlight of the evening, Sandhu says, was Simpson being able to come out and spend a couple of hours with everyone.
"It was really nice for not only his friends to see him... but also really awesome for him. I could tell he was overjoyed and very happy, and was just having a good time, being around music and reconnecting with a lot of friends. ... He was pretty much constantly always in a circle of people, talking to him, catching up. It was really heartwarming to see."
Sandhu notes it was only the third time Simpson has left the care facility since the assault.
The money raised on Friday night will support a trip to Alberta, where Simpson will see a specialist, "with the hopes of one day having Jessie be able to walk again."
Kellan adds he's super thankful for his team and to everyone who donated to the fundraiser.
"A big thank you to the community for supporting Jessie and for not letting people who have (gone through) incidents like this go by the wayside. It's important we continue to support people and not forget about them," he says.