Jace Thorsteinson

Botha community rallies around rodeo teen at Halloween party

It's been two months since the tragic mishap that left Jace Thorsteinson, 14, in the Calgary Children's hospital.

It’s been two months since the tragic mishap that left Jace Thorsteinson, 14, in the Calgary Children’s hospital, but he’d recovered enough by Friday, Oct. 29 to attend a Halloween party being thrown in his honour.

On Aug. 26, Jace was taking part in a team roping practice when the horse he was riding tripped. The tumble sent the young rodeo athlete into the ground head-first, and then the horse rolled on him.

Despite having the weighty equine land on him, the only injury Jace had was to his head — but it was severe enough that after arriving at the hospital in Red Deer, he was flown via STARS to the hospital in Calgary. There, he remained in a coma for several days before slowly waking, and has been on the road to recovery ever since.

“He’s now in rehab at the children’s hospital,” Jace’s mother, Jamie Thorsteinson, said. “The doctors are impressed with his recovery. He can walk, with a bit of help. His left side is still a bit limited, but he’s getting better every day. He can talk.”

Kelsey Bignell loves to plan Halloween parties and organizing one to raise money to help cover the costs the Thorsteinson family is now experiencing through Jace’s injury and recovery was a zombie-proof “no-brainer.”

The party had healthy food options alongside juice and pop for the kids, plus a bar for adults who could “enjoy a responsible drink or two while the kids can dance and play and wear their costumes.”

The party packed the Botha community hall, with parents and kids alike dancing to family friendly music, playing games, and just coming by to check on Jace, who was there in costume, in a wheelchair so he wouldn’t exhaust himself.

His wheelchair was dressed up as a horse.

The support their home community, rodeo community, and people in general has been “incredible,” Thorsteinson said.

“When Kelsey asked if she could do this, it was back shortly after the accident,” she explained. “We never imagined Jace would be here.”

Thorsteinson and her husband, Neil, have been staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Calgary, and she was full of praise for the lodgings, which gives a place for parents to stay when their children are having important medical treatment. JD, Jace’s younger brother, has been staying with relatives — though his parents stay in touch and try to be back on weekends to see him.

“There’s a long road to go but we’re confident we’ll come out alright,” Thorsteinson said. “We’re so lucky.”


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