A Victoria woman has raised about $20,000 so far for the family of a friend who’s facing a massive medical bill from an extended stay in U.S. hospitals.
That’s nearly halfway to her goal of raising $50,000 to help the family of 32-year-old Kenzie Markey, who was severely injured in a skydiving accident in Arizona.
On April 6, Markey’s parachute collapsed in wind turbulence and she fell to the ground.
Markey, who has over 100 jumps under her belt, suffered a fractured femur, toe, pelvis, skull, eye socket, nose, elbow, a collapsed lung, and a brain injury.
She had to stay in Arizona hospitals until she was stable enough to be transported back to B.C.
She was eventually brought back to the province by B.C.-based private company Executive Air Ambulance, which gave her the flight from Phoenix to Vancouver at a cut rate of about $20,000 — about half of the initial quote.
Markey, who lives in Pemberton but is originally from Nova Scotia, is now in stable condition in a North Vancouver hospital, but her extended stay in the States racked up a bill of about $500,000.
Markey’s mother has travelled across the country from Nova Scotia to be at her daughter’s side, but she admitted to media in Vancouver she had “no idea” how the family would cover the extreme medical bill.
Markey had travel insurance, but her policy did not cover extreme sports.
Online news website commenters, who are quick to point out how much more they know than everybody else, are also quick to criticize Markey for not knowing her policy didn’t cover extreme sports.
Fair, she knew she was going to do something extreme and voluntarily jump out of an airplane, but for a family that’s now burdened with a whopping medical bill, it’s simply useless to advise her to go back in time and change the past.
Frankly, it’s not even useful to advise her and others to scour the fine print of her insurance policies in the future. I can’t say for sure, but I’d put money on the idea that she will read policies over carefully after this.
What will help them now is money. Even if they get the bill reduced to about 40 per cent of its original cost, as a member of the air ambulance team who transported Markey back to Canada believes they can, it’s still a huge amount of money. Donations can be made online to Markey’s cause at fundrazr.com.
Other people wonder why a person would ever jump out of a plane by choice, knowing that if something goes wrong, it’s likely to go very wrong.
In early April, a 46-year-old woman died after her parachute deployed too close to the ground and didn’t fully open during a stunt jump with 220 people in Arizona. She had done over 1,500 jumps in her life.
Last year, in the same location in Arizona, two skydivers fell to their deaths while trying to break a different world record.
At the Calgary Stampede in 2013, a Canadian Forces skydiver got lucky and only broke his leg in front of thousands on a rough landing during a performance.
Despite these stories, skydiving incidents are actually relatively uncommon in North America. According to the Canadian Sport Parachuting Association, about one in every 148,000 skydives ends in death in Canada.
Last year, there were 24 skydiving deaths out of 3.2 million dives in the U.S. That’s a rate of one in 133,333 dives, according to the U.S. Skydiving Association.
To many people, that’s an acceptable risk. After all, we accept a higher risk of death when we hop in the car and hit the highway, firmly on the ground.