An Okanagan College professor will be walking through Kelowna this week as part of an ambitious three-day trek to raise money for Gary Baker, an Okanagan father of four who suffered a massive brain aneurysm early in August.
Tim Walters, an English professor at the Salmon Arm campus and president of the college’s Faculty Association, aims to walk 160 kilometres, making stops at Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon, and Salmon Arm campuses starting Tuesday Aug. 30 and arriving at his destination Sept. 1.
“I’ve known Gary for several years, and I was keen to do something to try to help him and his family,” said Walters. Baker was a student at Okanagan College last year, having returned to school to pursue a career in engineering after years of working as a timber framer.
His wife Erica is also an OC student, and commutes a few times a week to Kelowna where she attends classes to get her biochemistry degree.
All their educational efforts were cast aside when Baker suffered a severe brain aneurysm Aug. 1 while playing soccer.
He’s undergone two surgeries and is currently recovering in Vancouver, which is a process that may take many months or even year Baker is currently out of an induced coma, and responds differently depending on the day, said soccer teammate Ron Krause.
They plan for a two-year recovery period, which is taxing the family.
“They’ve been stretching every dollar. They have the extra burden of student loans” said Erica’s sister, Katherine Goertz “Someone offered to pick their veggies. People have been mailing cheques to the house.”
Despite all the help, the family has a long road ahead of them and people all across the valley have been chipping in to help.
The Kelowna Cantinas, who were playing the Camels when Baker collapsed, raised $320 earlier this week.
There are also two GoFundMe campaigns.
The first is “Help Support the Bakers” or gofundme.com/2hvh3jg, which has raised $32,000 as of Aug. 30.
The next is for Walters’s walk. It’s at www.gofundme.com/campustocampus with files from Salmon Arm.