Fundraisers being held to help cover city man’s foreign medical bills

robin kuniski/for metro edmonton


Erin Kalin sits beside a photo of her brother Tyler Wilson, who fell headfirst from a rooftop in Thailand and sustained severe head injuries. He underwent brain surgery and is recovering, but his costs are around $3,000 a day and are expected to reach nearly $100,000. Family and friends have set up fundraisers in Edmonton and Calgary to help defray the medical costs.

« He’s definitely beaten the odds. It’s an absolute miracle that Tyler is still with us. »

Few people could afford to shell out $50,000 for out-of-country emergency medical expenses, let alone $100,000.

That’s the bill a former Edmontonian could face for medical expenses he’s incurred after being seriously injured in Thailand.

At first, the family of Tyler Wilson hoped to cover the $50,000 in medical care costs, but they were recently informed of an additional $25,000 for Medi-Vac charges to bring him home, tacked on to an already mammoth travel bill for family members.

His sister, Erin Kalin, said they now plan on holding fundraisers in Edmonton and Calgary to help pay for the soaring bills.

"He’s definitely beaten the odds," said the 33-year-old stay-at-home mom of two boys. "It’s an absolute miracle that Tyler is still with us."

Wilson, who graduated from Strathcona Composite High School, had been showing a friend the panoramic 360-degree view of Bangkok atop his apartment building’s two-storey elevator shaft when he tumbled over the edge and struck his head on a concrete roof nearly five metres below.

He had been living in Thailand for some time after immersing himself in a culture that he "just fell in love with," Kalin said, but he did not have medical insurance.

After the fall and subsequent emergency brain surgery at Thailand’s Bumrungrad Hospital, Wilson wasn’t given much of chance to live — and he was in a coma for ten days.

The accident had left his brain swollen to such an extent that part of it had to be removed. Doctors were shocked when the 30-year-old sudden awoke days before Christmas.

The recovery process has been tough; Wilson has endured a number of infections and other small setbacks, but Kalin said he is doing well. The expensive recovery process is expected to continue once Wilson returns to Canada, set for later this month.

In Edmonton, his family is hoping to raise funds at an afternoon jam to be held on Feb. 3 at the Yardbird Suite from 2 to 6 p.m. Tickets are $20.

Friends and supporters are also gathering in Calgary, where he once lived to attend the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, at two events in city bars.

All monies raised will go towards covering Wilson’s medical costs. Any money left over will be given to the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Centre in Calgary.

His friends have also started a Facebook page, filled with well wishes, and a trust fund.with files from Darren Krause

Latest From ...