Framed for Suzi charity auction to raise funds for crash survivor
Suzi Merson lost her leg in the car crash, but she kept her sense of humour.
Merson, a Havelock North resident, was involved in a serious crash in February this year.
She suffered serious internal injuries and a dozen broken bones. Now she's re-learning to walk with her new prosthetic leg.
"[Humour is] only way I've got through this one," Merson says. "We've probably got warped senses of humour at our place."
It's just as well Merson hasn't lost her funny bone, because an artwork by her adult son Jesse needs her to be able to take a joke.
If only you'd attach my legs, I wouldn't be in this ridiculous position makes light of Merson's situation via the Star Wars robot C-3PO, whose body is disassembled in The Empire Strikes Back.
The subversive, slightly cutting humour is typical of Jesse, an engineer who lives in Australia with his wife and two young kids.
"He's got a wicked sense of humour," Merson says. "I think when I was still unconscious, or knocked out or dead or whatever it was, he came in with his two sisters and cracked some kind of joke, and that's apparently when I opened my eyes, and that's sort of just how he is.
"The girls had been in there every day rubbing my hand and saying nice things, and he comes in and says something you probably shouldn't say and I smiled and that was it, I came back."
If only you'd attach my legs is one of 40 works donated by local artists up for sale as part of Framed for Suzi, a fundraising project organised by Merson's friends in Havelock North.
The artworks will go under the hammer at a dinner on Wednesday night. 220 tickets to the dinner were available, and organiser John Macpherson - known to locals as Mac - says they sold out in "nanoseconds".
Before the crash, Merson ran a successful picture framing business next door to Macpherson's wine retailer. Afterwards, Macpherson was one of a group of locals who got together to figure out a way to help her.
They came up with an art auction because it gave many of the people who had used Merson's services a chance to donate. Local artists flocked to the cause, donating works worth thousands of dollars. Framed for Suzi has received so many artworks that a second auction will be held online later this week.
Macpherson says Merson is a bright and practical person, but the Havelock North community would have done the same for any of its own.
"She's just a lovely member of the community and everyone thinks really highly of her, but this is really a story of when you live in a small place, if one of the team falls over you just pick them up, don't you? You just do what you can to help them."
Merson is not somebody who likes the limelight, but she's looking forward to Wednesday's dinner.
"You think, 'Oh my God, why would somebody do that for me?' And the next minute when you're having a bad moment you realise that things like that are what sort of keeps you going. When all the things that you used to do are taken away from you, you have to try and find some closer goals, or something," she says.