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Fundraiser set up for Nanaimo woman who may lose foot after motorcycle crash

Eating disorder recovery worker facing multiple surgeries over coming months
A friend has set up an online fundraiser to help Deanna Sullivan, who suffered serious injuries and may lose a foot after a motorcycle crash near Sooke on July 31. (Mike McInnes photo)

A Nanaimo woman suffered potentially life-altering injuries in a motorcycle crash on the long weekend and will need help in her recovery.

Deanna Sullivan badly broke her leg and all but severed her foot in a crash Saturday, July 31, near Sooke.

Sullivan was participating in a memorial ride and was riding with a large group when she lost control on a turn and collided with a barrier, said her friend Krista Verhiel, who set up a GoFundMe account.

The riders were doing the Port Renfrew loop when the crash happened near the Jordan River. With no cell service in the area, two riders travelled in opposite directions until they could call for help, and Sullivan was airlifted to Victoria General Hospital, where she has already had two surgeries within 24 hours of the crash. Verhiel said Sullivan’s foot was more than 90 per cent detached.

“She’s grateful to be alive, she’s grateful to watch her son grow up,” Verhiel said. “She wants to keep her foot obviously, but a foot is a foot and she’s here and that’s really where we’re all staying focused.”

Sullivan owns Blossom Place, an eating disorder recovery house, and runs in-patient and out-patient programs. Verhiel called it a “passion project” for her friend, who also started eating disorder anonymous meetings in Nanaimo as well as a body positivity movement called ‘Only One You.’

Verhiel said Sullivan is also part of the alcohol and drug abuse recovery community in Nanaimo.

“I can’t even estimate how many people she has helped to get sober from drugs, alcohol, eating disorders and so on, and she’s really a go-to for many people in that community in town,” Verhiel said. “Her phone is going off all the time and she’s constantly emotionally supporting others.”

So now is the time for people to try to return the favour, Verhiel said, adding that the online fundraiser will help in a few different ways. Blossom Place can’t run without Sullivan and may need to hire a staff member, plus Sullivan needs to pay bills and take care of her six-year-old, and would benefit by having people close by during her recovery.

Verhiel said her friend has a straightforward and strong personality, and “if anyone can go up against these odds, it’s definitely her.”

To view the GoFundMe or to donate, visit

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