Gary Baker of the Okanagan Spring Brewery Camels is a trooper.
The 45-year-old is currently in Vancouver General Hospital, recovering from a brain aneurysm he suffered after collapsing during a Capri Insurance Men’s Soccer League soccer match, Aug. 1 in Vernon.
A burger and beer fundraiser for Baker will be held Saturday at Enderby Memorial Arena.
Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at Big Al’s House of Hockey in Salmon Arm or at Sutherland’s Bakery in Enderby. The event runs from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tickets will also be available at the door.
The Enderby resident has been through two surgeries but also has the community rallying behind him with a GoFundMe page.
He is currently out of an induced coma, and responds differently depending on the day, said Camel teammate Ron Krause.
They plan for a two-year recovery period.
The Bakers also recently went back to school. Gary has been attending Okanagan College in Salmon Arm.
“My sister (Gary’s wife Erica Baker) would say ‘this has been the hardest of her life,’” said Katherine Goertz.
Erica, 37, commutes a few times a week to Kelowna where she attends Okanagan College to get her biochemistry degree.
“They’ve been stretching every dollar. They have the extra burden of student loans” said Goertz.
Erica has been incredibly grateful for the support of her community.
“It’s like having a big, thick blanket wrapped around me,” she said.
It isn’t surprising that the family has received support from the community because of their involvement, said Goertz.
Gary coached his daughter’s soccer team and is a volunteer firefighter.
“Someone offered to pick their veggies. People have been mailing cheques to the house,” said Goertz.
A carpenter, Gary and Erica own B.C. Log Design.
“They built their own house. The kids have never lived in any other house,” said Goertz.
She described Gary as a “voracious learner” and he always provided help with her homework.
Gary and Erica have four children: Alea, 16, Erin, 15, Bree, 13 and Keira, 11.
Visit their GoFundMe at “Help Support the Bakers” or gofundme.com/2hvh3jg.
They have raised $29,485 on their GoFundMe as of Aug. 24.
The Kelowna Cantinas, who were playing the Camels when Baker collapsed, raised $320 earlier this week.