CHESTERVILLE — The plight of a six-year-old local boy who lost much of his foot in a lawnmower accident earlier this month has touched the heart of his community.
And on Saturday night, Chesterville and District showed that collective love for Bryce Stuart and family by raising $31,100 to help with immediate out-of-pocket costs associated with taking him to hospital for treatment and future prosthetics.
Inside a Chesterville Legion packed to its total capacity, a live auction of donated items ran past midnight and delayed the start of a planned dance into the wee hours. Auctioneer Brandon Scheepers called out the bids for hours in a seemingly never-ending procession of goods that went on the block.
“It was unbelievable. I don’t know how he had any voice left,” marvelled Pam Dejong who attended the event with husband Steve. “We left at 12:15 and it was still happening,” the Dunbar resident added of the “really sweet” occasion.
“The donations came from everywhere; it was absolutely touching,” said Karen Parker of Chesterville.
Looking to be well on the mend, the injured boy himself attended and presented flowers to the event organizers, including Parker and Christina Vanier and Kelly Robinson.
About 20 of Bryce’s schoolmates from Chesterville Public School were among the 250-plus in attendance.
“I would like to thank all of those who supported Bryce,” said the boy’s uncle, Darrell Stuart, describing the response as “truly amazing. What a great community we have.”
He also cited the “amazing” first responders with the OPP, Chesterville firefighters and the Ornge air ambulance service that first assisted after the June 1st mishap at the family’s Main Street North home on June 1st.
“Bryce is doing better than expected” and “in good spirits so far,” his uncle also reported. “He didn’t like using the walker at first. I then said, I want to see him beat his dad in a race and uncle Darrell will give you a prize. He has been using it ever since.”