The family members of a young Wairarapa man who was seriously injured in a workplace accident are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support they have received from their local community—and from people around the world.
20-year-old welder Aiden Sayer was knocked on both sides of his head after a truck tray he was working on at his Masterton workplace tipped. He was knocked unconscious and placed in an induced coma. He was flown by helicopter to Wellington Hospital where he remains in a coma in critical condition.
Sayer's aunt Koren Sutherland set up a givealittle page to raise funds for his recovery—and the page has been flooded with 232 donations, totaling almost $14,101, in just three days.
"I've never seen anything quite like it," she said. "People have obviously really appreciated [him] because the whole community in Wairarapa and beyond, and around the world, have rallied around him."
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Support for the beloved welder has come in from as far as the US, England and Finland, where Sayer is said to have chatted to other car and motorbike fanatics over Facebook. "[These are] people who've never met him but realise he is such a neat guy," she added.
Sayer is known for offering a helping hand to whoever needs it, including offering up his mechanical skills—and now, as he is the one in need, it's clear his "helping hand" mentality is being reciprocated.
Sutherland said similar stories are likely to be told about Sayer's mother Vania and step-father Craig, who operate Showcase Jewellers in Masterton. Sutherland said the local business owners are known for "bending over backwards" for people.
In the aftermath of Sayer's accident, stories about his character started coming in. Sutherland describes how she heard from people who only knew him because he had visited their store to get lunch or buy something. They told her "we just love him to pieces".
She added: "He's made an impression on people's heart."
At 20 years old, Sayer is an anomaly—having just bought his first home last year, and chipping away at renovations ever since. As well as his adeptness working on cars, he has an "amazing skill" with the camera, his givealittle page states.
Perhaps his greatest skill of all—his kindness—has been mirrored in the actions of his friends in the aftermath of the accident.
"He's obviously been really good to his friends, to the point where Aiden's father Dave and step-father Craig turned up at Aiden's house to show Dave Aiden's house because he hadn't seen it," she said, adding that Dave hadn't seen the house because he lives in Australia.
The duo turned up to Sayer's house to find a whole bunch of his friends "cleaning it up and getting stuff done."
"We're taking 20, 21, 22-year olds all pulling together. That says something," Sutherland said.
Aiden's family is taking his recovery day-by-day and focusing on the positives with "lots of laughter".
His mother Vania hasn't left his side, Sutherland said, calling her the "one of the strongest people I've ever met."
"We're just trying to keep him stable," she said. "We talk to him, we chat away to him, remind of his cats, his cars, his house.
"There hasn't been a lot of change since the accident."
Sayer remains in an induced coma and is currently quite unstable and had a "difficult night" last night, Sutherland said. "This can change from day to day so we hope he becomes more stable as the day goes on."
Sutherland say Sayer's workplace AGTEC Machinery has been amazing. "We really appreciate them, [they are] fantastic people. There is no blame anywhere, absolutely not."
She also said the Ronald McDonald House in Wellington has been "absolutely amazing".
"What they offer during such a devastating time has helped so much in reliving the stress of finding somewhere to stay."
There are a lot of costs to cover, his givealittle page states, including the petrol costs for the 1.45 hour drive from Masterton to Wellington, and Sayer's mortgage, plus associated costs once he begins his recovery.
"The Wairarapa have rallied in every possible way," she concluded.
"We'd just like to get Aiden back to how he was, that's the goal."