GREAT FALLS — A group of ICU nurses started a fundraiser that has already raised more than $45,000 for coworker Jessie Racicot after she suffered a freak accident on Saturday, June 18.
Jessie was kayaking with her husband Frank, best friend Schannon and her family, when a thunderstorm moved in. Jessie and Frank were securing their kayak to the top of their truck when a lightning bolt struck her directly and impacted Frank.
Bethany Evans and Kayla Pocha are ICU nurses who work alongside Jessie.
“This happened on Saturday, and I was at work, and we were all kind of called into our report room saying that, hey, there's a trauma coming in and it's one of your coworkers, Bethany said.”
Not expecting to see one of their own in critical condition, the pair of nurses jumped at the chance to help.
“We knew she was going be transferred out," Kayla said. "And so we had to figure out some type of way to help, you know, and it's going to be a long road. It's going to require a lot of you know, recovery time. And there's a lot of expenses that come with an injury like this, you know, and time off work and lost wages and all those things.”
Scrambling to find the best way to take action, they created a GoFundMe page in hopes they could help raise money to offset medical costs of this unimaginable situation. The National Weather Service reports there is a 1 in 15,300 chance of being hit by lightning in your lifetime.
The GoFundMe page was shared all over the community, and within days donations began to flow in as the community showed its support.
“Initially I had the goal, I think like $10,000 and I shared it Saturday night and it just kept getting re-shared and re-shared and re-shared and like donations started flowing in and I was like, oh man. Like this can really make a difference for them,” said Bethany.
After only three days, the page had already raised $45,000, with that number continuing to grow towards their new goal of $75,000 as donations continue to flood in. Kayla and Bethany feel as though there is no one more deserving of this goal because of how much Jessie and Frank have given to the community.
“She is just so selfless. And her and Frank together, they just put doing the right thing at the top of their list and priorities, you know, whether it's with their patients or just people in general, they just are so kind and caring and humble above everything else,” said Kayla.
Jessie was described by friends and coworkers Kayla and Bethany as a nature-lover, a truly adventurous person with goals and dreams bigger than what may fit in her back pocket.
This fundraiser will help ease their financial burden so she can focus on her recovery and get back to doing what she loves—exploring, dreaming, and serving others in any way she can.
According to the Racicot family, Jessie and Frank were transferred to a hospital in Salt Lake City. Frank is being treated for burns and is expected to make a full recovery, whereas Jessie remains in critical condition and is stable for the time being.
The GoFundMe page has been posting updates on Jessie and Frank’s recovery as they become available. Click here if you would like to donate.