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First vacation in eight years for Kamloops attack survivor Jesse Simpson

Eight years ago, on June 19, 2016, a harrowing incident changed Jesse Simpson’s life forever. After attending a graduation party in Kamloops, Jesse was walking back to a friend’s home when he inadvertently entered the backyard of Kristopher Teichrieb. In a tragic turn of events, Teichrieb attacked Jesse with a metal baseball bat, causing severe injuries that left Jesse in a coma for months. After successful brain surgery, Jesse woke up in early 2017, but his life was irrevocably altered. Now, Jesse resides in a nursing home, completely dependent on care, unable to eat on his own or engage in conversation, and confined to a wheelchair.

For the first time in eight years, Jesse has received the opportunity to go on vacation to the Abilitas Foundation’s accessible lodge at Cold Water Ranch, a non-profit facility near Merritt, British Columbia designed to provide a restful and rejuvenating environment for children and adults with disabilities. Jesse will celebrate his 27th birthday with a four-day stay at this special lodge.

Sue Simpson, Jesse’s mother, has gathered the funds necessary for transportation, enabling them to take advantage of the stay at the Cold Water Ranch Lodge. Sue is thrilled about Jesse experiencing the lodge, which is designed specifically for individuals with disabilities along with their families and caregivers. She looks forward to Jesse enjoying the theater room and soaker tub while overlooking the expansive ranch, and the family plans to barbecue together.

Currently, Jesse lives in a full-time care home where he is mostly surrounded by seniors. Each year, Sue requests birthday cards for Jesse, and the hundreds of cards he receives always lift his spirits. Sue has also set up a GoFundMe for Jesse, which has been instrumental in renovating their home for accessibility, purchasing and maintaining a wheelchair van, and covering other essential expenses not funded otherwise. The family continues their legal battle to secure the $6.9 million that Teichrieb was ordered to pay Jesse.

About the Abilitas Foundation:

The Abilitas Foundation is a non-profit organization that operates an accessible lodge near Merritt, offering a welcoming retreat for individuals with disabilities along with their families and caregivers. The lodge features 6,000 square feet of meeting space, two bright conference rooms with scenic ranch views, and can accommodate up to 26 participants. It boasts a full kitchen facility, spacious rooms designed for specialized wheelchair mobility, and bathrooms equipped with accessible amenities like lowered counters and shallow sinks. Additional features include overhead lifts, adjustable beds, and many other accessible elements to ensure comfort and safety for all guests. The organization was established in 2008 with a big dream of creating accessible opportunities for people living with disabilities, and the Cold Water Ranch Lodge was opened in 2013.

Learn more about the Abilitas Foundation and their work on their website by clicking here.