Members of the Coy family now have hope they will get to their dad, a critically injured Winnipeg man grieving the loss of his wife in a devastating Panama mudslide.
Winnipeg North MP Kevin Lamoureux has jumped in to help the family, promising aid to expedite their passports and to make a public appeal for financial help.
Greg Coy talked to one of his daughters by cellphone from his hospital bed in Panama Saturday, less than a day after emergency surgery that followed his harrowing rescue.
His daughter, Kristin, held back tears Sunday as plans finally moved forward to get her and at least one other sibling to him.
Coy has three adult children by an earlier marriage who live here.
Kristin and her brother, Josh, live in the city and their sister, Harmony, lives in Selkirk. The family says the three are close.
“I know he’s alive and I know he can wiggle his toes and his fingers,” Kristin said. “The hospital said he’s suffered severe trauma and lacerations to one of his internal organs.”
Killed in the mudslide were Coy’s wife of almost two years, Susanna Mureil who is from Panama, as well as his wife’s son, Pablo, Pablo’s wife Corvacho Ana Lucia Aguilar and their three-month-old girl.
By mid-Saturday, Kristin had spoke directly to their dad but, drained by a call, the young woman let her boyfriend describe the details of the conversation.
“She was able to speak to her dad but he was quite emotional,” he said. “The word from the doctor is he is stable but his description was intimidating: He said from his rib cage down he’s as flat as a pancake.”
The family knew their father had suffered a shattered pelvis and spinal cord injuries but the personal exchange proved overwhelming for both daughter and father.
“He started coughing up blood while he was talking to Kristin and he had to end the call,” the boyfriend said.
Earlier in the day, Kristin and her boyfriend met with Lamoureux to ask for help.
The family needs emergency Canadian passports to fly to Panama and money to buy the airline tickets to get there.
Lamoureux, in his first public constituency issue since a federal byelection took him to the Commons three weeks ago, said his office is hosting a fundraising event Tuesday evening at his constituency office at 998 Keewatin St. from 6 p.m to 8 p.m. Kristin’s agreed to speak at 8 p.m.
Two other MPs, one in government and one in opposition, also stepped forward to offer help earlier this weekend: Conservative Joy Smith and Liberal Anita Neville.
Kristin and Josh live in Point Douglas, a neighbourhood in Lamoureux’s Winnipeg North riding.
“We know it’s very difficult for you and our thoughts and prayers are with you,” Lamoureux told Kristin Saturday.
“The key is to get you your passports — ideally, we’ll get them by Wednesday,” he said. Lamoureux pledged to open his constituency office this weekend for donations in advance of the fundraising event Tuesday.
“We want people to feel comfortable that whatever they donate goes directly to the airline tickets,” Lamoureux said.
With donors’ permission, donations will be made public on his website, Lamoureux said. He estimated airline costs will probably come to a few thousand dollars.
One airline estimate put the cost of two return tickets at $2,600. Lamoureux said there are plans to post updates on donations for the Coy fundraiser on his website at www.4kevin.ca
Reprinted from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 12, 2010