By Darren Lum
Published April 27 2017
It was a small gesture with big results showing she cared and helping others to do the same.
Lillie Garbutt posted a photo of a heartfelt message to Snapchat that asked friends family and community residents to wear blue or Highland Storm clothing to show support for Ryan Prentice a local teen who was admitted to St. Michael’s Hospital on Friday April 7 when he suffered a spontaneous brain hemorrhage from an undetected arterial venous malformation.
The message was then shared and reposted on social media reaching hundreds of students.
As far as the Grade 7 student knows there were students at her school Archie Stouffer Elementary School students at J. Douglas Hodgson Elementary School and also at Ryan’s school Haliburton Highlands Secondary School who participated on April 10. Photos were published on social media and in the Echo and Times .
“He’s an amazing person. I wouldn’t know what we would do without him. So many things would be so different” Lillie said.
She’s known him all her life being a best friend to her older brother Aidan Garbutt who appreciated her effort. He didn’t know she had spearheaded the day of unity until discussing the outpouring of support later.
The idea came she said from how much Ryan loves hockey and the strong bond they share. He’s always treated her with kindness and compassion spending time with her and talking to her when he’s been over.
“He’d always be there and play with me talk to me. He wouldn’t pretend I wasn’t there” she said.
The attention to this effort was something she didn’t expect saying the focus should be on Ryan.
However the success did make her proud to be able to do something to show she cared. As of last week Lillie hadn’t been in contact with Ryan. She hopes the photos will help and is thankful to everyone who joined her in showing support.
“It was a lot of support for him and I’m sure he’s going to be super happy when he sees the pictures … I’m just glad they did it. Even if they didn’t know Ryan they still did it” she said.
As of Monday his aunt Andrea Gillespie said Ryan has been “discharged from the ICU to a step down unit. He is making positive steps every day towards healing. He has a long rehab and recovery ahead of him but he’s getting there.” She adds it is unknown when he will return home.
Following the show of support by the community Gillespie said Ryan and his family are “appreciative and staggered by the amount of support from all of Ryan’s friends classmates and the community.”
In an email Ryan’s dad Tom (with mother Aimee Howard Bain concurring) also responded to the community’s show of support.
“No words can explain the heartfelt warmth we are feeling from everyone! We love you all and thank you all for the support prayers and well wishes” he said.
Ryan’s cousin Alannah Reinwald started a GoFundMe account two weeks ago which has raised $14215 from 141 people exceeding the initial $10000 goal. It will help Ryan’s parents with the extensive costs associated with a critical illness and the rehabilitation she said.
“Anyone who knows Ryan knows his big heart and his loveable character. We all feel powerless and at a loss for how to help. Tom and Aimee (and families) need our support so they can support their son. If you are looking to help out here’s your chance! No amount is too small and every bit of it greatly appreciated” it reads.