Quesnel resident Curtis Spencer wasn’t expected to live long enough to make it to the hospital, let alone survive surgery once he arrived.
Curtis, 25, was assaulted in the early hours of the morning on April 12, 2019. The Quesnel RCMP found Curtis suffering from severe injuries on the 500 block of Callanan Street in North Quesnel at approximately 4 a.m.
“If it wasn’t for the Quesnel paramedics and the hospital and their fast reaction … he wouldn’t be here with us today,” says Arlene Spencer, Curtis’s mother.
Arlene says Curtis is healing remarkably quickly for someone in his position, but that his doctors expect him to remain in hospital for at least six months.
While Curtis is in hospital, a GoFundMe campaign has been set up for his mother to help cover the costs of her stay outside of Quesnel as she remains with her son. The RCMP have asked her not to disclose her son’s location.
The GoFundMe campaign was started by Arlene’s sister in early May, in an effort to help Arlene and her husband afford the cost of living while they stay near her son.
“[It means] a little bit of stress is gone,” says Arlene. The money will go to buying clothing and shoes for Curtis — who arrived at the hospital with nothing, and will require those items when he eventually begins physiotherapy or leaves the hospital.
The money will also go toward Arlene and her husband’s accommodation and living expenses as they remain with Curtis. Ideally, some of the money will also go toward transportation to the hospital. Currently, Arlene says she walks an hour each way when she goes to visit her son.
“At least it clears my head,” she says.
Curtis arrived at the hospital severely beaten. Doctors had to pull pieces of his skull out of his brain and his skull was cracked on either side. He also had a crushed cheekbone — which required a surgery the doctors thought he would not survive.
“I didn’t even recognize [Curtis],” says Arlene. “When I walked in there you couldn’t even tell it was him, he was so swollen up and black and blue. It looked like two eggs sitting on top of his eyes. It was just horrible.”
She says they were unable to do x-rays, and initially thought the deep tissue damage on his arms meant they had also been broken.
Arlene and her husband moved to Quesnel from Prince George in September, to take care of her 84-year-old mother. Her husband had been previously diagnosed with cancer and the two were off work, which allowed them to move.
In late December 2018, Curtis moved in with them.
“I couldn’t imagine something like this ever happening to me in Quesnel. We lived in Prince George for the last 20 years, and I couldn’t imagine something like this happening there either,” says Arlene.
Curtis is still struggling with his memory, and his doctors are still working to figure out how much brain damage there is.
But his mother says he has started speaking — something they weren’t sure he would ever be able to do again — and he’s even been up walking, with help.
“Everybody pray for him,” says Arlene. “Because he’s got a long, long road ahead of him.”
Anyone who wishes to donate to the GoFundMe campaign set up for Arlene and her son can visit https://www.gofundme.com/the-family-of-curtis-spencer.
As for the assault, one arrest has been made. Kelly Dean Gerk of Quesnel has since been charged with aggravated assault in relation to the incident.
Gerk was arrested shortly after the incident, and remains in custody.
He is set to return to court on Tuesday, May 28.