Donations pour in for victim of chopper crash

HEATHER SIMPSON
Last updated 12:42 09/07/2014
Sam Kersten
Supplied
FLUNG CLEAR: An injured Sam Kersten remains in serious condition in hospital.
Grant McCallumf
INJURED: Grant McCallum is the owner of Cloudy Bay Helicopters.

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A fundraising appeal to support the wife and two young children of a Blenheim father seriously injured in Sunday's helicopter crash has raised almost $10,000 in 36 hours.

The givealittle page was set up to support the family of Sam Kersten as he begins a series of major operations at Christchurch Hospital.

Kersten was taking part in a heli-hunt near Ward when the helicopter he was a passenger in crashed into a gully.

His wife, Sarah, daughter Eliza, 2, and son Pete, 6 months, have moved to an apartment beside the hospital to be closer to him.

Kersten's sister-in-law, Katy Romagnoli, said they would be based in Christchurch for six months while he underwent care at a specialised spinal unit at Burwood Hospital. Family had set up a fundraising page after a groundswell of support from family, friends and the public.

Kersten, 31, was the sole breadwinner and the family did not have any income support, Romagnoli said.

"Sam recently started his own fencing business and there are bills and loans to pay. Money is the last thing Sarah needs to think about.

"We have felt useless and didn't know what to do, so we set up the fundraising page. Please give what you can, just $5 would make a difference."

Already the page has raised $9560 by 7.30am today, almost at the goal of $10,000 in financial aid.

Kersten underwent a second round of surgery yesterday at Christchurch Hospital.

Romagnoli said he would require several operations and his recovery could take up to two years.

"Yesterday Sam was feeling very weak, and he will need quite a few operations. His whole body is shattered.

"Sarah is being really strong. It has been pretty hard - there are so many things going through her head about what the future holds.

"We won't know for a few weeks what is happening.

"Everyone is still in shock. Nobody expected him to be in a helicopter accident."

The public can respond to the appeal at givealittle.co.nz/cause/samkersten

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- The Marlborough Express

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