'Pain meds make my day bearable': Lively woman's recovery from serious collision buoyed by fundraiser
SUDBURY -- Romana Benoit, who was struck by a car during a late-night bike ride in Lively earlier this month, says she is blown away by the support she has received.
More than $28,000 has been raised on her behalf through an online fundraiser as she works to recover from the extensive injuries she suffered during the collision.
“I don’t even know how to say that in words," said Benoit. "I wish I had a made-up word for gratitude that is more than the word gratitude because it’s true. Between my friends and family and Lively -- and even strangers -- it’s incredible."
On April 11, Benoit was completing the David Goggins Challenge. Participants can walk, run or bike four kilometres every four hours for 48 hours. She said she has always been a fitness enthusiast and it was something she was doing to challenge herself both mentally and physically.
She was on the ninth of 12 runs and decided to bike instead, since her legs were sore.
'The next thing I knew I woke up in hospital'
“So I’m going down the hill and the next thing I knew I woke up in the hospital,” said Benoit.
She has since learned that, as she was biking down a hill on Santala Road in Lively, she was struck by a vehicle going 50 km/h. Sudbury police say a 19-year-old man has been charged with careless driving causing bodily harm and improper headlights in relation to the collision.
Benoit’s said although she is in good spirits, her injuries are quite extensive.
“Pain meds make my day bearable," she said. "Without the pain meds, I pretty much can not do a single thing. I am stuck in one spot without movement. My hip is broken, my back is broken, my shoulder has something going on – we're going to get an MRI. They said it was broken, but also tendons and things are sort of worse off. I also have chips and cracks in my skull that cause me a lot of pain and the concussion causes me a lot of pain.”
Police and medical professionals have told Benoit they have seen other collisions similar to hers, and the people involved did not live.
“I try my best to stay positive," she said. "I try my best to stay grateful because I know that’s really, at the end of the day, like, it’s a miracle that I’m alive. I do get that beyond, but it is hard.”
A Go Fund Me page was set up by her brother-in-law, Eric Benoit. The original goal was to raise $7,500, but to date, more than $28,000 has been raised for the family.
Large donations include $750 from the Lively Golf Club, as well as the donation of a ramp for the Benoit's residence by Brock Stadnyk, owner of Brock Construction, and Trevor Ronchin, owner of Pinehill Lumber.
Marc Benoit, Romana’s husband, said at first he was against setting up the page. But after considering how seriously his wife's injuries was going to impact their lives financially, he reconsidered.
“Even if we don’t end up needing it, we're the type of people, were gonna pay it back somehow -- we’ll make sure," he said.
He also wants improvements to the roadway to improve safety for others.
"You know, if I have to put the street lights in myself, (I) will," he said. "We’ve had a lot of talks with the city about redoing this road. They mentioned that it was a four- to five-year project … and with a lot of outreach from the community calling 311 and complaining, we’ve bumped that up, they say, to potentially within a year we’ll have it fixed up. (There have also been) talks about maybe putting in a sidewalk.”
Benoit, who is a teacher at Macleod Public School, has a long recovery ahead of her while also caring for her two young children. It’s expected that she will deal with lifelong effects from the collision.
To donate to the Benoit family, click here.