Saskatchewan

'I'm told that I'm a miracle': Sask. village raising money for first responders after deadly crash

The Kenosee Hall Recreation Centre will be a place of mourning, celebration and thanks on Thursday night as community members gather at the Dance of Gratitude.

Survivor says quick action from paramedics, STARS and her daughter saved her life

The fundraiser community dance on Thursday is hosted by the Kenosee Lake Kitchen Party in collaboration with community members and the local Lions Club. (Submitted by Michele Amy)

Cheryl Dubois still doesn't quite understand how she survived the crash. 

"I'm told that I'm a miracle — that I shouldn't have even made it onto the operating table," she said. 

Now her community is coming together to raise money for those who helped get her on the road to recovery.

The head-on collision happened on March 2. Dubois, 43, is still recovering in the trauma unit at Regina General Hospital. 

Dubois and her 18-year-old daughter were driving home from work at Club 19, a restaurant at Kenosee Lake. 

RCMP said an oncoming vehicle lost control after hitting a hard snow drift and careened head-on into Dubois's vehicle.  Marie Krauss, also from the Kenosee Lake area, was alone in that other vehicle and did not survive.

"We were the only two vehicles on the road and we just passed at the wrong time," Dubois said.

She said there was no time to react. Beyond that she has no memory of the crash on that "frigid night." She said it's a miracle her daughter had minimal physical injuries and could call for help.

It was simply a terrible amalgamation of coincidences.- Michele Amy

STARS Air Ambulance transported Dubois to Regina where the trauma team was waiting. 

"My entire stomach was moved up and blew through my diaphragm, so everything was in the top third of my chest," she said. "My main artery there was nicked. Normally people bleed out and die with those kind of injuries." 

Dubois said she survived because her daughter, the first responders and medical teams acted fast.

"I'm so grateful and so lucky that our system worked so well that night," she said.

She's trying to focus on positivity and gratitude with the help of her family and friends. She wept describing how deeply the crash affected her small community. 

People from the Kenosee area are gathering Thursday night for a community family dance that will raise money for local responders and STARS. (Kenosee Lake Kitchen Party Inc.)

On Thursday, Kenosee Lake is coming together for a fundraiser called Dance of Gratitude.

Dubois said it helps people heal if they feel like they are helping. 

"That's one of the greatest things about small town Saskatchewan, is that everyone has each other's back."

Community fundraiser 

Money raised will be donated in thanks and in memory of Krauss. Dubois said she wants it to go toward first responders, STARS and the Trauma Unit. Organizers plan to video call Dubois so she can participate. 

"We often see a tragedy and we just wish we could do something," said Michele Amy, one of the organizers.

Amy said music and dance are important for healing. 

"It evokes and elicits those deep emotions from our bodies and it helps too. It's a very cathartic experience."

She said the "horrific car crash" devastated the community.

"No one was at fault. It was simply a terrible amalgamation of coincidences that happened to create this," she said.

Amy said she hopes the fundraiser encourages people, particularly those with connections to rural Saskatchewan, to support first responders and STARS. 

She said it's reassuring to know that "in super catastrophic events, there are all of these wonderful volunteers and community members and professionals who are trained and willing to jump in to make the difference," she said.

"Maybe we don't need to do the minimum, maybe we can dig a little deeper."

About the Author

Kendall Latimer

Journalist

Kendall Latimer began her journalism career in print as a newspaper reporter in Saskatoon and then as a feature writer in Bangkok. She joined CBC Saskatchewan in 2016. Latimer shares stories on web, radio and television. Contact her: kendall.latimer@cbc.ca

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