The family of a young Comox man who passed away last year has donated a sizable sum of money to Project Watershed’s Kus-kus-sum initiative.
Last November at age 25, Trevor Ashwell died following a head-on car crash on Highway 19 near Fanny Bay. For reasons unknown, a southbound vehicle had crossed the meridian into the northbound lanes and collided with the van in which the wheelchair-bound Trevor was travelling. He was rushed to hospital but later died. The driver of the southbound car, a woman in her 80s, also died.
A graduate of Highland Secondary, Trevor had enjoyed numerous activities, including soccer, volleyball, mountain biking, snowboarding and surfing.
He became paralyzed from the neck down after a swimming accident in the summer of 2013 while tree planting in Kamloops between terms at the University of Victoria.
By way of many fundraising events and donations, the community raised enough money for the Ashwells to purchase a wheelchair-accessible van, and technology that enabled Trevor to access the internet and resume studies in geography and GIS mapping.
“Your generosity was extraordinary, and your support buoyed us through a very difficult time,” the family said in a letter. “We started to make longer road trips. Trevor was contemplating the purchase of a drone that would give him visual access to places he could no longer access physically.
“He knew that adventures would still be possible because of your support. And we were reassured that when he needed a new wheelchair, he’d be able to afford one that had all the technology that would make his life easier.”
In the eulogy at the memorial service, Trevor’s godfather, Dave Talbot, said he ‘taught us many things that we needed to learn; what in life is important, how can we adapt gracefully and accept that which we must, how to be patient, how to be humble, how to be vulnerable, how to be strong when you are weak, how to smile when you are hurting, how to be grateful and how to keep going when the road is very rough.’
“We will never know what Trevor would have accomplished as one of the world’s few C-1 quadriplegics,” Talbot said.
“However, those who were close to him are still in awe at what he was able to learn, achieve and deal with, and the incredible character that he showed as he wrestled with challenges few in the world have ever had to deal with.”
Trevor’s family now has the responsibility — and privilege — of allocating money left in his trust fund to groups and projects they believe he would have supported.
This year, the Ashwells have decided to donate $10,000 to the Kus-kus-sum project, the aim of which is to purchase and restore the former Field sawmill site to natural habitat on the Courtenay River.
“Your donations made a huge difference to us, and five years later, they are helping to create a legacy for future generations to enjoy,” the letter states.
“We are grateful for the support of the Ashwell family and feel honored that they chose Kus-kus-sum as a recipient of Trevor’s trust funds,” Project Watershed said.
“Trevor will be remembered through permanent signage installed on the Kus-kus-sum site once it is restored.”