Michele Harris is still trying to adjust to the news her husband Markel Evans will never walk again.

“It’s all very surreal,” said Harris. “It was just that freak accident.”

Evans is certified to work with explosives and owns a blasting and trenching business. He was setting off charges to unblock a creek near Crutwell on Sunday when he was hit with a chunk of ice. Evans was crouched down at the detonation site when the blast happened.

Evans layed in the snow for about an hour until paramedics arrived and transported him to hospital in Prince Albert. He was sent to Saskatoon for further care.

Evans suffered extensive injuries, including internal bleeding, crushed vertebrae and spine and broken ribs that punctured his lung. Surgeons inserted 10 screws and five rods in his back to straighten his spine. The family was told Evans is paralyzed from the waist down.

“The surgeon said he had lost a lot of spinal fluid and the chance of him walking again were very slim. So that was very hard to hear,” said Harris.

Harris said she’s grateful for the help provided at the scene of the accident that helped save his life. She said her husband is a “go-getter” that is always working, so it will be really hard on him to adjust to life without walking.

People and businesses from Birch Hills, about 40 kilometres southeast of Prince Albert, donated more than $36,000 in one day on GoFundMe. The total increased to $42,000 as of Thursday morning.

“It hits my heart to the core that there’s that many people out there that are just so willing and so giving to support us and help us in this awful devastating time in our lives,” Harris said.

“I just can’t thank everybody enough. There’s not enough words in this world and appreciation that I can give to people.”

The family has lived in Birch Hills for six years and Evans was born and raised in the area. Evans and Harris have four children, ages 15, 13, three and two.

Family friend Kelsey McDonald started the GoFundMe. She says the donations will help pay for medical expenses, travel and adjustments to their home to accommodate a wheelchair.

Harris hasn’t been able to see Evans in hospital due to COVID-19 restrictions for visitors. Doctors told Harris that Evans will need physiotherapy and if all goes well he should be released from hospital in mid-December.