A soccer community is rallying around 16-year-old Braeden Bowering who was involved in a collision near Ponoka in September that claimed the life of his 17-year-old friend Nathan and left him in pediatric intensive care with several broken bones in his lower body.
After spending three weeks in the hospital, Bowering was able to come home to Lacombe where he is currently recovering with the help of his family and his friends, many of whom were involved with the U17 Ponoka Storm soccer organization.
Ainsley Gray, one of the Storm soccer parents and mother to a good friend of Bowering, was one of the parents who started the GoFundMe Lets Help Braeden Recover, which set the goal of $5,000 in order to help Bowerings family deal with the costs associated with his recovery.
Gray said all the boys were close and her son immediately drove to Edmonton after he heard Bowering was airlifted by STARS to Edmonton.
“My son felt the need to go up there immediately to support the families. I was able to make it there as well and the rest of the boys came up the next day,” she said.
Gray said the family went through a scary time in the hospital, with doctors putting Bowering into a sedated state following his surgeries. Gray said they knew right away that recovery was going to be a long road and that they needed to help.
“Braeden is at home, which is nice, but someone needs to be here looking after him. He can’t walk and is currently in a wheelchair. That is tough on him, tough on his family and they also need to start making trips into Edmonton next week,” she said.
Gray said the soccer community has always been very supportive and she knew they would come together for Bowering. Within hours of the GoFundMe, the group already raised $570 towards their goal.
Gray said the support from the soccer team and the community has helped keep Bowering’s spirits up.
“I am happy that Braeden has all these friends. There is probably 10 boys in Braeden’s room. He has the whole soccer team some days,” Gray said.
“These kids are wonderful and they have come together for him. Emotionally I think he is doing well.”
Gray said the goal of $5,000 would go a long way towards Bowering’s rehabilitation — much of which is not going to be covered by medicare or insurance.
“We need to be able to help with them that because being a one-income family is tough. They have other kids as well. Talking the burden off them is our big thing,” she said.
Gray is thankful for the support they have received so far.
“It is nice to see there are good-hearted people out there and we want people to know they are helping a really great family,” she said.
She added it is important that people continue to support both the Bowerings and his friend Nathan’s family.
“What happened to these boys was an accident and it could happen to anyone. We need to remember that these boys are good boys, it was an accident and it changed these families’ lives forever,” Gray said.
You can make a donation to Bowering’s recovery at https://www.gofundme.com/f/lets-help-braeden-recover