Derek is the kind of person everyone should have in their lives... Hands down the most selfless person I know.
Last week, temperatures hit -40...Most of us hid away in our homes...but not Derek... Derek was doing
was what Derek does...
He was asked by friend to drive out to an acreage and pickup some belongings up for her, and no questions asked Derek set out to do just that.
Derek thought he should take a different way home after struggling to climb the hills on the freezing icy roads. Although his tires are fairly new, he was driving with his summer tires still and he wasn’t exactly familiar with the area. Derek ended up stuck and unable to get his van up a hill. He knew that there was a little shack on the other side of the frozen Athabasca river so he wrapped his feet in any material he had with him and set out on foot..
He made to the shack where he found a working stove and surprising a working phone. He phone his friend who didn’t seem very eager to help him but reluctantly she did call someone who met Derek back at his van...
Derek was wet and cold but happy help had come. The guy pulled Derek up the hill and then he unhooked...he seemed annoyed to be there and eager to leave (understandable considering the weather).
Derek tried explaining to the guy that he didn’t think he would make it home and asked that he please either comeback or else send someone else back if he hadn’t heard from Derek in a half hour.
The guy left. No one in site.. No cell service. Wet and cold. He drove a couples miles but again found him stuck.. He had taken all his personal belongings out of his van to make room for his friends things. And was now way to far from the shack to walk back. He tried every thing to get the van unstuck but eventually ran out of fuel.
We don’t know forsure if that guy ever did call anyone to check in or not.
Dereks friend did send Derek one text message saying “I can’t find find you. Are you ok? “ however he was not in cell service and didn’t receive the message until he was brought to the hospital. We also know that she sent another message 6 days later, again saying “are you ok I can’t find you”. We do know that she did not find him nor did she call anyone for help and no one came back... Derek was pulled too far from the shack to walk back...
he obviously suffered extreme hypothermia and most of the next 36-40 hours is blurr... he remembers thinking that they will come for him.. they had too come back for him... when he realized no one was coming he said he
remembers screaming for God to end his life...
Let’s rewind a bit...
Derek has had his ups and downs in his life... he was a successful insurance adjustor, had a
family and married to a school teacher.... but has also seen first hand the struggles that many others have too.. his marriage fell a part, but he carried on and got a good position with Champion feeds in Barrhead... 15 years he spent there and then out of the blue was let go.. He was never really given an explanation as to why...
I met Derek when a friend told him I was giving away a couch. He came to pick it up but when he noticed I was gutting my basement by my self. he insisted on staying and he helped me .. it took us 3 weeks working long days to get it done..he went from a complete stranger to a friend instantly. He had a sore hip, but that didn’t stop him..He had just gotten a cortisone shot in his hip and within 3 months the man could barely walk... he couldn’t work, and it was probably 2 years before they got him in to have a hip replacement. They figure the cortisone deteriorated the bone. He had to cash in his retirement policy early from the Insurance company he worked for and eventually lost his apartment. He rented a room for a couple years but recently found himself looking again for a place to live. This past year has been especially tough, he doesn’t have a home .. and he doesn’t ask for help easily.. I’ve seen the man borrow money, to help someone else in need.. He is always listening and never forgets if someone mentioned wanting or needing something... Derek will always find a way to make to make sure that person gets what they need..
How is it that this man was leftout there and FORGOTTEN by atleast 2 people just miles from where he was? -40 when he set out earlier that day (I can only imagine how low the temperature dropped over night!) He was just trying to help a girl out!?!?!
How could anyone sleep at night knowing that their friend is out there freezing like that? I also cant help but wonder why these people have never been questioned? Why were the police not at all interested in the events that lead up to Dereks rescue? If Derek was still working for an insurance company and married to a school teacher would they have had more interest in this horrific situation? Some time the next afternoon Derek woke up and heard a grader... he was so out of it that he couldn’t gather the strength to signal for help... thankfully though he was aware that it was a grader, and that meant that if he went by him once the grader would eventually come back and make a second pass... He knew if he was going to survive this he had to find a way to get the attention of the grader operator. When the grader came back down the road the operator must have noticed that the van was still out there... I’m assuming this seemed unusual to the operator and he drove straight toward the van to see if by chance there was actually someone stranded out there...
THANK YOU WHOEVER YOU ARE!!!
Derek was immediately helped into the warm grader and 911 was called.
His feet were badly frost bitten. Toes and heels now completely black. He faces amputation to some toes without a doubt but very possibly both feet completely, and possibly a thumb..
The video attached is hard to watch but it’s very real..
Im asking for any relief for this man... He is almost 70 years old, He isn’t going to recover from this. He is going to have to adjust, we don’t know yet what Exactly he will need, we dont know what the future holds for him. We do know that a wheel chair at the very least will be needed. He will never be in a position financially to get prosthetic feet so I was hoping at least to help him with renting a home, and getting a wheel chair and building a ramp...
This guy really deserves a break, he certainly didnt deserve to be forgotten and left for dead out there...
When I first went to visit him at the hospital He had a visitor there, and right away he asked the other person if he had heard of any one in the area with two new bmx bikes,(someone had stolen my kids bikes months ago) and there’s Derek, black feet, severely frost bitten, waiting to hear how much of his feet he will lose, he just barely survived a horrific ordeal and Derek is concerned about finding my boys bikes!
Derek doing what Derek does!
We are looking for help to get Derek the medical equipment that will help Derek get around.. whether that be a wheel chair or even prosthetic feet if at all possible... Derek is also in need of a home... I’m trying to find something small that he can afford to rent that will also be wheel chair accessible.
Any donation would be so apprieciated!!
UPDATE: Derek was just taken to Edmonton and has been scheduled for amputation of all toes and quite possibly his entire left foot! Poor Guy!
- William Baycroft
- Daemien Lavallee
- HARVEY THOMPSON
- B & L Bonik