Community rallies around Levi Jamieson

·8 min read

In October, 2020, Moosomin high school student Levi Jamieson was in an ATV accident and was rushed to Regina General Hospital by STARS air ambulance before being flown to Royal University Hospital Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in Saskatoon.

As a result of the accident, Jamieson lost the use of his legs and is adjusting to a wheelchair. While in the hospital recovering, and upon his return home to Moosomin, the community has rallied around the family to show their support.

There have been numerous fundraisers for the family, a Love 4 Levi account opened at Conexus Credit Union for donations, and people all around offering a hand to the family when they need one. Tens of thousands of dollars have been raised for Levi and his family through the community support.

Levi—who has been actively involved in 4H and his family farm since childhood, and who has his own herd of cattle now—hasn’t let anything slow him down since coming home. He has returned to school, is back out helping on the farm, and having fun doing the things he loves like hunting, skidooing, and driving a team of horses. He has even tried his hand at sledge hockey.

It has been a long journey for the Jamieson family since the accident, however, things are starting to improve thanks to Levi’s resilience in physiotherapy. The Jamieson family has been going to Regina every week, since Levi returned home, for his physiotherapy, but as he progresses, they’ll be able to do more of it in town.

“We go to Regina every week,” says Levi’s dad, Darcy Jamieson. “Sometimes it’s two days and we stay overnight and sometimes it’s just in and out. Most of it (physiotherapy) now is strengthening, which can be done mostly here (Moosomin). It’s that and balancing. We can do a lot of it at home too, the days that we aren’t there.

“When he left here in the air (on the STARS air ambulance), they stopped in Regina and then she (Levi’s mom Diane) jumped in the jet with him from Regina to Saskatoon,” said Darcy. “The Ronald McDonald House in Saskatoon was amazing to us.”

Levi was in a medically induced coma from Oct. 18 until Oct. 23. On Oct. 23 he was given an MRI, which determined he required surgery on his back.

“He was in Saskatoon from October 18 to November 4—October 24 was surgery—and the Ronald McDonald House charges $10 a night for families and they provide some meals. You don’t realize what a facility like that does for you until you need it,” said Levi’s mom Diane. “He wasn’t awake for two weeks. Then we moved to the (Regina) General until December 14, and from there to Wascana Rehabilitation Centre.”

“Surgery is pretty much done,” said Darcy. “But we’re going to try and see another specialist—the Shriners have reached out to us to see one of their specialists and they’re working on that as we speak.”

“The physiotherapist said she’s amazed because everything she throws at him he either does or figures out a way to do it,” said Diane. “He’s adapting very well.”

Coming home from Regina was a milestone in itself for Levi, and being the animal lover he is, it was a treat to see all his animals on the farm again.

“It was good to see everyone,” said Levi Jamieson, “and good to see the pets again—it was good to see all the dogs.”

“I think at one point every dog we had was up in the bed with him,” said Darcy with a laugh.

Things aren’t as easy as they were before for the Jamieson family, but the family is adapting to the changes, and Levi’s positive attitude has been a big factor in his quick adjustment.

“It’s challenging with this wheelchair, but we were in the barn and he was in with his Jersey cow when she had her calf,” said Diane. “He’s been out and about. It takes a little bit more time to get to places he wants to go.”

“You don’t just jump up and say, ‘lets go down to the World-Spectator,’ it takes planning,” said Darcy.

The Jamiesons says that Darcy Rambold at Pharmasave in Moosomin is currently working on ordering an Action Trackstander for Levi, which would allow him to be more mobile.

Levi says he is up for the new challenges ahead and already has goals going forward and his wheelchair isn’t slowing him down or stopping him from embracing his favorite outdoor activities once again.

“I want to get back to riding my dirt bike and working with the cattle,” says Levi.

“He has been skidooing,” says Darcy. “We had him skidooing New Year’s Eve on the front lawn. He was riding a small skidoo but I’m going to fix up his big one and he plans on riding it this year. He went out on the ice on the sledge and he’s been driving the team of horses—we went out for sleigh rides one day at the farm.”

“First thing he did when he got home was shoot a deer,” adds Diane.

“We got the special permit to shoot out of a vehicle from the game wardens,” said Darcy. “We worked on that when we were in the hospital and we got that all taken care of and we got him home that weekend (the last weekend in November) and he shot a deer—that was the plan of coming home, to get him out deer hunting and to get him away and active for a bit. You can only lay in a hospital for so long. It was the best therapy to get him out of there and get him home.”

“He was asking the doctor to let him go and they couldn’t believe how strong he was after he came back from his two days at home,” said Diane Jamieson. “It was a different atmosphere and where he wanted to be so it was good.”

Despite Levi’s impressive advancements, the Jamieson family knows there are more obstacles ahead and right now they’re focused on doing everything they can to make things accessible for Levi.

“We have a ramp and it’s 24 feet now, but it still probably should be another eight feet longer,” said Darcy.

“Renovations will be challenging, that’s the key,” said Diane. “Right now he’s downstairs in the living room because all of the bedrooms are upstairs. We’re looking at lots of different things right now. We’re looking at getting different saddles so he can get back on his horse—we’re trying to adapt.”

“There’s a guy down in Greenville, Texas who makes saddles with back supports on them—he’s been making them for 25 years,” Darcy said. “We’ve been talking to him a bit and we’re trying to get one. We have to do some measuring and fitting on him to send and he’ll make a saddle for him. Then he can get back on the horse and do a bit of roping.”

One thing the Jamieson family can’t put into words is the appreciation they have for the community support they’ve received. They’ve always known the community here was strong, but to feel the value of a small community’s kindness first-hand has been life-changing for them.

“I didn’t think that would be there (the community support),” said Levi. “It’s great to have the support.”

“It’s pretty overwhelming,” said Diane “it’s amazing to see all the community’s support. Saying thank you doesn’t seem to be enough. From texts to prayers to phone calls to food to donations, it was way overwhelming. There’s been so many phone calls just offering help with anything—it’s been from the moment it happened. We learned what we always knew about the Moosomin community, the surrounding areas, and all around. From the bottom of our hearts, it’s unbelievable. I can’t say enough.”

“I don’t think anybody expects support like that in any case,” said Darcy. “It’s very overwhelming. We’ve always supported things ourselves so it’s great that you get support back. We can’t make the thank you big enough. Some of the stuff that was going on, we were watching it—like the heifer donation auction and the cow pie bingo (fundraiser)—we watched that on TV in Saskatoon—and the nurses and doctors couldn’t believe it because they’re in a big city, so they couldn’t believe it. They were all standing there and watching it with us and couldn’t believe it. I don’t think there’s a person in this community that would turn us down if we needed something.”

Both Darcy and Diane also say that since the accident, they now understand the real need for a paved runway in Moosomin—a project that is currently in the works—so that the Sask air ambulance can land in Moosomin and take direct flights to Saskatoon, where Levi was transported after landing in Regina on the STARS helicopter.

Rob Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator