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Kelowna man who walked 215 km for residential school survivors in ICU with COVID

An online fundraiser has launched to support Rob Mercer’s family
Rob Mercer and his family. (Contributed/GoFundMe)

A GoFundMe has been launched for a Kelowna man currently in the ICU for COVID-19, less than two months after he raised more than $6,000 for residential school survivors.

Rob Mercer has been put on a heart and lung bypass machine, according to the fundraiser. The machine is commonly used to pump and oxygenate a patient’s blood outside the body, allowing the heart and lungs to rest. Mercer is a father of three, including a new baby. His wife, Heather Mercer, has three weeks left on her maternity leave.

Mercer, who is Tahltan/Cree, previously walked from Kelowna to Kamloops to raise money and support the Indian Residential School Survivors Society and the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation. The 215-kilometre walk was done to honour the memory of the 215 children buried at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School and was a personal journey for him because his family members were residential school survivors.

“Rob is a young, healthy athlete with a heart of gold. He is an incredible father. Just two months ago, he completed a 215km walk to raise funds for the survivors of the Indigenous residential schools massacre. Rob represents the absolute best of our community,” read the GoFundMe page.

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