Online fundraiser underway for Kings County woman injured in US skydiving accident

Kathryn Brewster
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Kings County native Kenzie Markey, left, was injured in a skydiving accident in Arizona recently. Her friend, Kelly Richardson, has organized an online fundraiser to help Markey’s family with her medical expenses. - Submitted

Joe Markey received a startling phone call last week: his daughter, Kenzie Markey, had been in a skydiving accident in the United States.

The 32-year-old woman was in Arizona when the accident happened. She had already completed more than 20 jumps over five days – her father says she was “squeezing one last jump in before she had to fly home” a few hours later.

Although no one witnessed the accident, it’s believed she hit some turbulence, which threw her off course. Fortunately, an aircrew was training in the desert at the time and saw her land, getting her to hospital “in record time.” Markey said.

Her injuries include brain trauma, a broken femur, toe, pelvis and ribs, a collapsed lung, crushed nasal cavity and eye socket damage. Despite her traumatic injuries, she was conscious when she arrived at the hospital and has since undergone several surgeries to repair the damage.

“There were a couple of times when it was ‘We’ll just have to wait and see how she makes it through the night’,” says Markey, who lives in Harmony. “But she’s eating now, and she’s made unbelievable advances in the last week.”

Though her clarity comes and goes, Kenzie was coherent long enough to complain about the bland hospital food, a fact that gives her father a bit of a chuckle.

Kenzie’s mother and brother have already flown to Arizone to be with her, and Markey is anxiously waiting her return to Canada so he can join them. Citizenship concerns – Markey was born in Scotland, and still carries British citizenship – made it difficult for him to fly to Phoenix, so the family decided that it would be best for him to wait.

Although she currently lives in Brackendale, B.C., Kenzie grew up in the Annapolis Valley. Like Kenzie’s father, her mother, Sherry Mackenzie-Jennison of Kentville, still lives in the area.

 

Markey says that they’ve found a bed for Kenzie at Lions Gate Hospital in Vancouver – now it’s just a matter of getting her there. Until her lung condition stabilizes, she can’t be airlifted, and financing is also proving to be a bit of a problem for the family.

Markey says that the family needs to guarantee payment for the air ambulance in advance before they will transport her back to Canada. Originally, the family believed it would cost between $25,000 and $30,000 to fly her home, but have recently learned that the cost could actually be as much as $45,000.

That isn’t the only big cost: because skydiving is considered to be an extreme sport, insurance won’t cover her Arizona hospital bills.

“There’s a lot of fundraising going on. A friend of hers started a fundraiser connected to Facebook that’s doing pretty good. The local Valley Credit Unions are accepting donations in her name at any of the branches – being the Valley, we’d rather than do that than go on Facebook,” Markey joked. “We’re not backwoods, we’re just slow! But that’s taking off pretty good.”

The online fundraiser alone has already raised more than $5,000.

Adventurous from the start, Kenzie grew up riding dirt bikes and horses. She surfs and snowboards as well.

“She just tries to squeeze everything she can out of life; she’s very adventurous. Some people find her maybe a little too intense, but that’s just her way of taking on the world,” says Markey.

Her adventurous nature doesn’t stop at her hobbies; although she works as an electrician now, Kenzie used to repair pulley systems on ski lifts.

“She’s never been afraid of heights,” Markey laughs.

Markey is on the phone to Arizona daily for updates, eagerly awaiting the news that she’ll be able to come home. Although he is frustrated by the red tape surrounding the ordeal, he is confident that things will turn out well.

“It’s a long journey,” he says, “but she’ll make it.”

Weblink fundrazr.com/campaigns/ejwE3?psid

Organizations: Lions Gate Hospital, Arizona hospital, Valley Credit Unions

Geographic location: United States, Arizona, Kings Canada Arizone Scotland Phoenix Brackendale Annapolis Valley Kentville Vancouver

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Comments

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Recent comments

  • andrew collins
    April 21, 2014 - 20:54

    To indulge in an extreme sport without specialized medical coverage in the US is not only stupid but selfish. To expect others to pay for your actions is beyond presumption. There are cancer and other victims in Canada who cannot afford things not covered by our medical system. I'm donating to help them.

  • andrew collins
    April 21, 2014 - 20:53

    To indulge in an extreme sport without specialized medical coverage in the US is not only stupid but selfish. To expect others to pay for your actions is beyond presumption. There are cancer and other victims in Canada who cannot afford things not covered by our medical system. I'm donating to help them.

  • andrew collins
    April 21, 2014 - 20:52

    To indulge in an extreme sport without specialized medical coverage in the US is not only stupid but selfish. To expect others to pay for your actions is beyond presumption. There are cancer and other victims in Canada who cannot afford things not covered by our medical system. I'm donating to help them.

  • M. Rhodes
    April 20, 2014 - 19:27

    The father gave to the community for many years, helping at-risk youths. It would certainly be fitting for the community to give a little back in this time of great need. Many have made negative remarks at various news sites but before anyone casts stones about "should haves" how many of us have never engaged in what could be construed as risky behaviors? How many of our children have never engaged in risky outdoor activities? Kenzie had different types of insurance coverage, all now coming back nil; Kenzie was stringent about safety and personally checked her equipment before each jump. It is so easy to judge without being apprised of all the facts; apparently it is much harder to simply show compassion and a helping hand, however how small.

    • Phil Vogler
      April 21, 2014 - 10:28

      Well said and I agree - I like to know the facts before giving an opinion.

  • GerryD
    April 19, 2014 - 09:40

    Travelling out of the country, engaging in risky sports and activities, please remember to get the appropriate health insurance package that will be effective in the country you travel to.

  • seaoned traveller
    April 18, 2014 - 12:26

    Bill does make a point..and is entitled to have his say..........and no one should ever cross the border unless you have insurance coverage.....families have been bankrupted,lost their homes and assets ..over a less than $100.00 investment...get travel insurance! Good luck to Kenzie.

    • Phil Vogler
      April 21, 2014 - 10:24

      It's "NOT" a rich persons sport either - I pay $60.00 per jump when I go - what does a round of golf cost - a night at the theatre. I feel many people are far too quick to criticise without knowing the facts.

  • Bill Patterson
    April 18, 2014 - 02:57

    At the risk of sounding insnsiive, maybe people should refrain from reckless behviour. I'm just saying if its dangeously expensie - do it it on a rich person's dime, not the public purse.

    • Phil Vogler
      April 18, 2014 - 08:06

      Well you make sense in one regard – you certainly are insensitive.

    • John
      April 20, 2014 - 10:05

      Phil, folks are certainly entitled to their opinions. You have no right to chastise anyone for simply stating their opinion. Last time I checked, it was not against the law to express one's opinion here in Canada. Anyone with any common sense should realize that this tragedy will also generate some controversy. Having said that, I too have made a donation as the important thing at this point in time is to get the young lady home.

  • Phil Vogler
    April 17, 2014 - 14:37

    Please share this post and mention it to your friends. Any donation amount no matter how small is a huge help. Let's bring Kenzie home to Canada.