Parker Keatley, who is from Tatamagouche but plays hockey with the Pictou Bantam B Maripacs this season, was sent to a Halifax hospital with serious injuries following a collision on the Sunrise Trail on Dec. 19.
He and his grandfather, Jim, were making their way to one of Parker’s games in Pictou that evening and RCMP said road conditions were slippery at the time.
“Parker was airlifted to the IWK Children’s Hospital and is slowly recovering,” said Mindy MacDonald, of Tatamagouche, who is helping organize a benefit for the Keatley family this Saturday in Tatamagouche.
She said he still needs a feeding tube for nutrition and has taken a few steps with the help of a bar. He hasn’t spoken any words yet, but he is still going for physiotherapy and speech therapy.
“He is getting better every day, but it’s slow,” MacDonald said, adding that his grandfather had been taken to a New Glasgow hospital after the collision and later transferred to Tatamagouche. He was recently released.
“It was the day that Jim was finally able to see Parker, that Parker started to turn around,” she said. “He had not been doing well before that and the family was preparing for the worst.”
Keatley’s Pictou Bantam B teammates have been honouring him by wearing the number 18 on their helmets and after a gold medal win at the Westville tournament, they delivered him his own medal.
“Every game, we have his jersey on the bench with us,” said teammate Burke Murray, who met Keatley for the first time at the start of the hockey season and said he enjoyed having him as a defence player on his team.
Murray said his team has raised money for Keatley and is wishing him a speedy recovery.
MacDonald said the Tatamagouche community has rallied around the Keatley family and has been asking how they can help make a difference in their lives.
“The community of Tatamagouche where Parker has played hockey for the past few years always helps out families who need the help,” she said. “It is one of the great many things about living in Tatamagouche.”
She said Keatleys are clients of Quality Cuts, where she works, and a co-worker had mentioned about having a benefit dance for them.
Plans for a dance and silent auction quickly came together with the help of the Tatamagouche Minor Hockey Association and then the fire departments of Tatamagouche and Hilden said they would play a game to help raise funds.
“We figured we would do a hockey game before the auction and dance and make it one huge fundraiser for Parker,” MacDonald said. “We have had great success in the past with these events for other families and this will be no exception.”
She said a lot people have expressed interested in helping out by volunteering at the events, selling 50/50 tickets, bartending, cleaning up afterwards and donating items to the silent auction.
“We even had George Canyon and his personal assistant Karen Corbin, who is also a singer, hear about the benefit and donated signed CDs and a picture.”
MacDonald said anyone wanting to donate to the silent auction can do so by contacting her through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Benefit for Parker Keatley
WHEN: Jan. 17
WHERE: Tatamagouche Rec Centre
WHAT: Tatamagouche Fire Department hockey game - Tatamagouche Fire Departement vs Hilden Fire Department, 6-7 p.m. Donation at the door, 50/50 draw during the game, puck toss during second and third periods.
- Silent auction, 7-10:30 p.m.
- Dance with DJ, 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Donation at the door and 50/50 draw during the dance.