Fundraiser to Benefit Guilford Man and Family
John Van Steenbergen was enjoying a day with his family at Rhode Island’s Misquamicut Beach when his life unexpectedly changed forever.
John was in the water on July 19 when he was struck by a wave, breaking several vertebrae in his neck. His son, Wiley, pulled him from the waves and saved his life. John was treated by Westerly, Rhode Island first responders before ultimately being transported via helicopter to Yale New Haven Hospital. Though there have been some encouraging signs during his recovery, doctors remain uncertain about the level of mobility John may eventually regain.
For now, however, John and his family are focused on getting him off a ventilator so that he can breathe on his own and communicate with loved ones, according to his wife Linda.
Guilford Scout Troops 471, 474, and 475 are banding together to help the Van Steenbergens gather much-needed funds to help offset the expenses associated with John’s recovery. On Saturday, Oct. 8, the troops will host a fundraiser carwash at Palumbo’s Automotive to benefit the family.
Graig Sanders, a troop leader for Troop 471 along with John, said the Troop was devastated to hear of John’s injury and immediately knew they wanted to help.
“Personally, it was obviously just so shocking. Besides scouting, we are great friends with the Van Steenbergens and it was just shocking for everyone. And as a troop, we are missing John and aware that Linda and the family will need a lot of help,” Sanders said. “So, we hope to be able to help out as much as we can, doing chores, whatever. It certainly reminds us all, of just how fragile life can be.”
Any injury this devastating, and regardless of the type of insurance one has, creates a mountain of bills and expenses that are truly staggering.
“Everyone in town has used Palumbo’s for fundraisers. Mr. Palumbo and all the folks there are just incredible. He is always very generous with his time and resources for anyone looking to raise money with these types of events,” said Sanders. “We realized this would be a great way to step up and help. All of the funds will go directly to John and Linda, and it was kind of an obvious decision to go Palumbo’s for help.”
The carwash is on Saturday, Oct. 8 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Palumbo’s Automotive, 1099A Boston Post Road. A Go Fund Me page dedicated to the family and their efforts, has been set up at gofundme.com/f/john-vansteenbergen.