Updated 06:14 AM EDT, Wed, Oct 21, 2020

Ryerson Students Organize Fundraiser to Aid Schoolmate Paralyzed in Tragic Accident while in Cuba: How you can Help

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Ryerson University students conduct a fundraiser to help pay the medical bills of Napu Boychuk, their schoolmate who was paralyzed during a swimming accident, while vacationing in Cuba.

Friends, family and schoolmates are putting their heads together to provide financial aid to a Ryerson University dance student who was paralyzed, and most likely lost his chances of achieving his dreams due to a swimming accident last year.

On December 13, 2015, the 29-year-old dance student at Ryerson was pulled by strong undertow current and hit an undersea rock while he was swimming with his father and sister in Cuba's Varadero beach.

According to a CBC report, the collision shattered a portion of his spinal column, leaving him paralyzed and almost drowned.

After his companions found him, Boychuk was resuscitated and transported immediately to the Cira Garcia hospital in Havana, where surgeons realigned his fifth and sixth vertebrae via surgical implant.

According to a statement from the Ryerson theatre department, the surgery was successful, but the fourth year student did not recover his motor abilities in his arms and legs. This means he may not dance ever again.

"He's a very talented and a very passionate dancer. What that means, being in his final year, is that he's gone through four years of rigorous dance training," Ryerson's theatre school head Peggy Shannon told Toronto's CTV News.

As if that was not enough of a challenge, Boychuk's family is also facing a massive financial crisis for his months-long rehabilitation. Their insurance provider cut off coverage since January 7 because the family refused to fly Boychuk back to Canada.

"The insurance wanted Napu flown out the very next day after his operation and we were told by the Canadian Embassy that the last young man who was flown out with a spinal cord injury died in flight," the student's father, Dan Boychuk, told CTV News.

Furthermore, Dan Boychuk revealed that the insurance company claimed that his son's condition is "not an emergency."

"They want to fly people out right away back to the host country regardless of the patient's interests," he added.

Because of this, his friends and schoolmates have decided to conduct fundraisers to help with the hospital bills, as Boychuk is expected to stay in the Cuban hospital until mid-February.

In fact, his classmates in the Ryerson theatre and dance program are planning on having weekend fundraising activities to earn money to pay off his hospital bills and treatment, which have already exceeded $20,000.

Aside from that, they also established an online fundraiser via Tilt as well as a Facebook page dedicated to his recovery.

If you wish to donate, simply click this link and follow the instructions on the site.

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