Nanaimo philanthropist Frank Mazzei is showing signs of emerging from a week-long coma following a motorcycle crash.
Family members at his bedside say those signs are subtle yet promising.
Mazzei, 59, was on a road trip on his Honda Goldwing motorcycle last week to visit friends and family in his home province of Saskatchewan. He was travelling to a friend’s house in Cupar, Sask. (Aug. 31) when the crash occurred near the town of Southey on Highway 22.
Saskatchewan RCMP are investigating the crash, but it is believed Mazzei’s motorcycle was the sole vehicle involved. He was riding alone and wearing a helmet at the time.
Mazzei suffered a serious head injury and was rushed to Regina General Hospital, where he underwent immediate surgery. He remains in the intensive care unit.
“There seems to be some improvement [Thursday] but very, very little,” said Sara Mazzei, Frank’s daughter. “But he seems to be, he might be waking up but we don’t know for sure. He has kind of opened his eyes a little bit without any pain or anything like that. He just opened them up so that is a very good indication that he’ll be able to wake up at some point.”
Doctors will be able to give Mazzei a more accurate assessment of the damage to his brain when he wakes up and is able to communicate.
Sara, her mom Sandra Mazzei and other family members flew to Regina immediately after learning of the accident.
Sara and Sandra have been at Frank’s bedside for a full week, buoyed by support from the community both in Nanaimo and Regina.
“We’ve been getting a lot of e-mails, text messages, phone calls, everything,” said Sara. “Just today a young man showed up at the hospital. He lives here in Regina but he’s from Nanaimo and his parents told him to come down and bring us a card. It’s really cool. He wished us well and that really meant a lot to us.”
Sara said family and friends based in Regina have been “helping a lot” by providing vehicles, places to stay and meals “for as long as we need them.”
Frank Mazzei has been a major philanthropic contributor to Nanaimo for several years. The founder of Mazzei Electric has been president of the Dragon Boat Festival Society, is chairman of the Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, is involved with the Salvation Army and Kids International, a Nanaimo-based group that helps children in Third World countries, and contributes financially to the Nanaimo Clippers junior A hockey team, Nanaimo Timbermen lacrosse and V.I. Raiders junior football team.